The lead actors and actresses in “The Wizard of Oz,” St. Joseph Catholic School’s spring musical are from left: Alice McPhail, a senior, the Scarecrow in the Ruby Cast; Wyatt Davis, a junior, the Cowardly Lion in both casts; Mary Grace Stewart, a junior, Dorothy in the Ruby Cast; Annalise Rome, a junior, Dorothy in the Emerald Cast; Lake Dodson, a junior, the Tin Man in both casts; and Hannah Dear, a junior, the Scarecrow in the Emerald Cast.
The lead actors and actresses in “The Wizard of Oz,” St. Joseph Catholic School’s spring musical are from left: Alice McPhail, a senior, the Scarecrow in the Ruby Cast; Wyatt Davis, a junior, the Cowardly Lion in both casts; Mary Grace Stewart, a junior, Dorothy in the Ruby Cast; Annalise Rome, a junior, Dorothy in the Emerald Cast; Lake Dodson, a junior, the Tin Man in both casts; and Hannah Dear, a junior, the Scarecrow in the Emerald Cast.
MADISON – St. Joseph Catholic School will follow the Yellow Brick Road when a cast of students present the stage production of the classic 1939 film musical “The Wizard of Oz.”

 Student actors have been working on the production since early this year. The play is a faithful recreation of the classic film, complete with such songs as “Over the Rainbow,” “We’re off to See the Wizard” and “If I Only had a Heart.”

“I thought that this would be a great opportunity to show the parents (and) their kids, that theater is a really fun experience and we have something to offer everyone,” said Mary Hannah Skelton, the St. Joe theater teacher who is directing “The Wizard of Oz.”

 “It’s a great, timeless story that translates well from the screen to the stage,” Skelton said. “The songs are timeless classics. And the performances by our students – including a few who you never would have thought would appear on stage – are great.”

 “The Wizard of Oz” follows a young girl, Dorothy, and her dog, Toto, on their adventure through the Land of Oz and to the Emerald City. There, she plans to ask the Wizard of Oz to help her return home to Kansas.

 The musical opens at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 11, for a three-day run in the St. Joseph Fine Arts theater on campus. Other performances are 7 p.m. Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13, as well as a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday.

 Tickets are $10, with St. Joe students free. Students from St. Anthony, St. Richard and Sister Thea Bowman Catholic elementary schools are admitted free if they wear their school shirt to the musical. Tickets will be available at the box office the day of the performance.

Interest in “The Wizard of Oz” was so deep and the available talent was so strong that Skelton created two casts that will see different students performing different roles. Different casts will allow more students to participate in the musical.

 For example, the Ruby cast and the Emerald cast will have different Dorothys, Glindas, Miss Gulches, Wicked Witches, and Scarecrows. All other characters will have the same actors in each cast. The Ruby cast will perform the Thursday night and Saturday matinee; the Emerald cast will do the Friday night and Saturday night shows.

 Besides a cast of high school students, the musical also will see students participate as members of the orchestra, while others will have roles behind-the-scenes changing stage sets, monitoring audio and handling the lighting.

“There is something for everyone to do in our theater program,” said Principal Dena Kinsey.

 “I am so excited to see the musical. These students have worked long and hard practicing lines, rehearsing the music and handling backstage responsibilities. This is a testament to our students’ dedication to the theater program. It’s going to be a great night out for the family.”