Other than the Sound of Music, the Wizard of Oz is probably one the most delightful musicals of all times. Led by theatre director Karlene Krouse and a cast of 100 members, the audience was swept away to Kansas and beyond the rainbow. The musical ran on Friday evening, May 2 along with afternoon and evening performances on Saturday, May 3 at Bishop Luers High School.
The entire cast did a great job of bringing that Kansas accent to Indiana.
Kaitlyn Andorfer shined in her role of Dorothy Gale. Not only does she have a singing voice, she is a confident and focused actor who brought a great deal of charm to the musical.
Nelson Martin playfully filled the part of the Scarecrow; Wesley Hutson, a heart-warming performance as the Tinman and Mark Hellinger played the cowardly Lion with joyful tears. All three actors worked hard in bringing their roles to life through their physical characterizations.
Sarah Johnson was spot on in her role as the Wicked Witch of the West. Her cackling and strutting around the stage was just the right amount. Keeping the little ones on the edge of their seats!
The Good Witch of the North, Glinda (Emily Harrigan), held power in her soft and talented voice as she sent Dorothy down the Yellow Brick Road, with Toto.
For me the scene-stealer was Toto. That dog was unbelievable! Toto layed undisturbed on Dorothy's arm as apples were thrown, rode in a basket on the bike and hopped on stage from behind a curtain as if it knew exactly when to enter. It looked at times like Toto was actually bobbing his head to the music. How can a dog behave scene after scene? For the entire show! All the senior students received a rose for their rainbow performance. I think that Oliver, which is the dog's real name, deserved not only a rose but a huge bone!
The ensemble cast did a fine job with the musical numbers. The orchestra could have been a bit more bold and confident. The jitterbug dance number was adorable as was the poppy scene. The Ozians' and Munchins' had gorgeous bright, colorful costumes.
In terms of scenic demands, The Wizard of Oz is one tough cookie. At Saturday evening's performance there was hardly an audience wait time. Well done by all involved. The sets were magical, practical and clever. There was smoke for Oz, fireballs for the Scarecrow, snow during the Poppy scene and explosions for the Wicked Witch. The Monkeys didn't really fly but there were special effects for the great and wonderful Oz...a green screen technique with smoke.
Bishop Luers High School has a long tradition of great theatrical shows. It certainly is a challenge to stage a musical but this school with all its talent brings it back year after year. Luers Director Karlene told the audience, "The show was put together in about 4 1/2 weeks due to show choir performances." Amazing!
There's no place like the Luers auditorium for a well-performed musical. This show was perfectly staged for old and young alike. After the performance on Saturday, Nick Forte, who played one of the monkeys said, "I wish that the Wizard of Oz could go on forever!"