Follow the Yellow Brick Road

| March 4, 2015

Coshocton High School will be presenting “The Wizard of Oz” on March 19 – 21 at Coshocton High School auditorium. Tickets are $5 and are available at the door or in the high school office. Pictured here from left to right are: Cole Fisher as the Lion, Madeline Hire as Dorothy, Cameron Wiandt as the Tin Man, and Alex Burton as the Scarecrow.

COSHOCTON – Journey down the yellow brick road to experience one of the most beloved stories of our time, “The Wizard of Oz”, which will be performed at the Coshocton High School on March 19 – 21 in the auditorium.

“‘The Wizard of Oz’ is very popular, and the good news is, everybody knows it, but the bad news is, everybody knows it,” said Kris Hardesty, director of the production. “It has been so much fun claiming this project as our own and making it ours. I tell the kids, just because this is how it was done in the movie doesn’t mean you have to do it that way. They’re trying to make the characters their own instead of just copying from the movie.”

Hardesty directs the play with assistant director, Trevor Lanz, who also helped with set design along with James Rose. Some elements were also built in-house by Mr. Cotterman’s woodworking class. The costumes have been ordered online, with some elements found at Goodwill. Cynthia Limburg has dedicated her time to make the lion costume and Dorothy’s dress.

There are two versions of the on-stage production, and the cast will be performing the Royal Shakespeare Company version, which follows the movie the closest. In all, the cast members number around 75 to 80, which includes the munchkins portrayed by fifth and sixth graders.

There are some deviations from the movie. Another scene, originally cut from the movie production, is included in the play.

“One scene I think the audience will really enjoy is the Jitterbug scene because it’s a lot of fun and it was cut from the movie version,” said Hardesty.

One challenge faced by the cast and crew was the amount of recent snow days. However, that hasn’t deterred the cast from rehearsals.

“It’s been hard,” said Hardesty. “We’re doing okay, but it’s a little uncomfortable. The kids have been putting in extra time with rehearsal. Even when we had snow days, the kids still came in the afternoon for rehearsals. I think there were only two days where the weather was so bad that we canceled rehearsal.”

The fact that the story is so well known to the cast members helps with the lack of rehearsals.

“We used to watch ‘The Wizard of Oz’ a lot as kids,” said Lauren Hire, Wicked Witch of the West. “I’m just really excited for my melting scene.”

Dorothy, played by Madeline Hire, Lauren’s sister, remembers growing up with the movie and is enjoying recreating the experience.

“When I was six, I got a Dorothy and Glenda Barbie doll and those were my favorite toys,” said Madeline. “Me and my family grew up singing the songs from the movie and it’s fun to recreate it all with great people.”

Cameron Wiandt, a senior, is making his debut on stage as the Tin Man.

“I’ve played the drums in the pit before for other plays and I thought that’s where I was going to stay. It’s been really fun, especially working with them because they’re really good actors and we’ve become friends.”

Cole Fisher, who portrays the Cowardly Lion, is a freshman and is also making his debut on stage.

“Making my character grow is becoming a challenge and I like challenges,” he said.

The performance begins on March 19 at 7 p.m. and continues on March 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door before the show or in the high school office.

“I really think because ‘The Wizard of Oz’ was from the generation before us, we’re showing the older generation something they grew up with and they loved,” said Alex Burton who portrays the Scarecrow. “This isn’t something that just came out five years ago. This is from their generation and I think it’ll be nice.”

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About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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