Sycamore Ridge students and parents present dazzling ‘Wizard of Oz’
By Karen Billing
Over the last few months, Sycamore Ridge School has transformed into Munchkin Land as students and parents prepared to put on an ambitious production of “The Wizard of Oz.” The newly formed Sycamore Ridge Drama Club put on two evening performances on May 13 and 14, as well as a matinee performance for the school on May 17.
The play almost didn’t happen this year due to budget cutbacks, but a dedicated group of parents wasn’t about to let that happen, said director Shelly Yeager. Parents volunteered to manage the production, get together all the sets, costumes and props, provided meals for the cast after school and even held a garage sale to raise money for the show.
“(Parents) just made this happen,” said Yeager.
While Sycamore Ridge has always put on plays with its fourth through sixth graders, this is the first year of the drama club and the biggest production yet. The student performers have impressed Yeager with their enthusiasm and their talent.
“I’m amazed,” Yeager said. “They’ve never done anything of this magnitude…I had high expectations and they’ve met all of them and I’m very proud of what they’ve done.”
About 50 students were involved in the production between cast and crew.
Sixth-grader Madison Wright played Dorothy alongside her best friend Madison Wickham as the Cowardly Lion.
“I’ve never had this big of a role,” said Madison Wright.
She admitted she’s always had it in her head to become a famous singer and is getting a big chance to show off her singing talents with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and other tunes.
Wickham is having a blast playing the lion, underneath a fuzzy mane with whiskers painted on her face.
“I like his personality, how he’s kind of a feminine lion,” Wickham said.
Wickham said she was excited for the evening shows as so many of her friends had planned on attending. While the girls said they would have a few showtime jitters, they knew the audience would be a kind one.
“If you mess up, they clap,” Wickham said.
Sycamore Ridge parent volunteers have been “awesome” in helping to create a very professional show, Wright said.
“They’ve been so great. They’re strict and they get the job done,” Wright said.
Parent Pam Hunter served as the producer and choreographer, and Scott Tanaka managed sound and lighting with help from a student tech crew. The fun, sparkling sets were designed by parents Julie Anderson and Victoria Shoustari — there was even a house top with the striped tights and ruby slippers of the “smushed” Wicked Witch of the East poking out underneath.
The set came to life with the play’s big number “Munchkin Land” — nearly every cast member hits the stage to sing and dance. It wasn’t a stretch for the kids to emote joyfulness, with their proud ear-to-ear grins showing how much fun they were having and how happy they were in the spotlight.
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