Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Emerald City with the students of Homestake Peak School in EagleVail as their theater department performs the “Wizard of Oz” Thursday through Saturday.
The “Wizard of Oz” might be familiar to adults, but for third through eighth graders at Homestake Peak School, the storyline isn’t as familiar.
“A lot of adults grew up watching the Wizard of Oz on TV at least once a year, but this generation saw a lot of Disney’s animated musicals but wasn’t very familiar with that show,” said Deb Swain of Homestake Peak School Drama. Club.
Adults of a certain age remember this story because it was so popular and aired on television first in 1956 and then every year from 1956 to 1991, with the exception of 1963 according to IMDb.com. The award-winning film, based on the book by L. Frank Baum, debuted in 1939 and was directed by Victor Fleming. Since this film only aired once a year on television, people would gather in the living room to watch it year after year.
The “Wizard of Oz” was selected for this year’s fall production because it was important to find a show with lots of speaking parts and an expandable cast.
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“The ‘Wizard of Oz’ allowed us, with 45 students in our drama club, to give each child at least one special featured line or part. We were also able to give up-and-coming actors the opportunity to study many diverse roles,” Swain said.
Roles range from the lead roles of Dorothy and her new friends the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Lion, to the Wicked Witch of the West, to supporting cast like the Munchkins.
“The students became characters and some of them really surprised me. Some of our stunt doubles will be prime candidates for major roles in the next two years,” Swain said.
A certain discipline is required from every student and this builds life skills.
“We ask that cast members show respect to their cast, staff, installation, and all props, costumes, and sets,” Swain said. “And since I hear a lot of laughter during rehearsals and see a lot of smiles, I know they’re having fun.”
The characters and the story are endearing. The Tin Man wants a heart, the Scarecrow wants a brain, and the Lion wants courage. What they learn along their journey to the Emerald City is that they already have these qualities, they just need to look within. Dorothy realizes, even after all her adventures on the Yellow Brick Road, that there really is no place like home and is happy to be back with her family and friends.
The production is a family affair at Homestake Peak School, with parents helping out in a variety of ways.
“The production team is led by two parents, the costumes are under the direction of the grandmother of two of our actors, and then almost all the parents are involved either in the creation of sets, costumes, props, or in managing chores in front of the house while the show is running,” Swain said.
In addition to the 45 actors, there is a student who handles the music system, two former students who help with makeup and backstage management, and another student from Battle Mountain High School who handles the microphone and of the sound system.
It’s a real labor of love to put all that work in on top of schoolwork and other responsibilities, but Swain says it’s worth it.
“Friendships are blossoming among so many of these children. They all come together, with their parents, to create something that cannot be done as individuals. It takes an incredible number of hours and commitment to put together a show of this size,” Swain said.
The “Wizard of Oz” plays at Homestake Peak Auditorium on November 10, 11, and 12 at 6:30 p.m., and there will be a bake sale each evening at 6 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults / $10 for students and are available. at HPSDrama.org/ticket-Sales/ and at the door.
“At a time when our world seems beleaguered by bad news, this is an opportunity to enjoy the magic of live theater and a story with wonderful life lessons,” Swain said. “Join us for an exciting journey to the Emerald City.”