by Lorie Lewis Ham
As the school year winds down some local schools are performing their final shows of the year. Kingsburg High School is among them and will be doing The Wizard of Oz beginning on May 10.
“The Wizard of Oz is a show that students have asked about doing for several years,” said director of the show KHS English teacher Laura Vallenari. When she and KHS choir and drama teacher Richard Mynderup, who is music directing the show, approached the kids about doing the show this year they were really excited about it. “That made our decision for us.”
“This is the version from the original motion picture,” continued Laura. “We have made a few changes because of the limitations of our theater space. We have also made a few cuts so that we can keep the show at a little over two hours in length.”With a large cast and crew of 70 people, part of that group is actually from local elementary schools. Thirty-one children are playing Munchkins, including Richard’s four year old, and Laura’s. The cast includes students from KHS, Glacier High School, Reagan Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, and Roosevelt Elementary.
There is also a non human member of the cast, a dog named Becky who belongs to Victoria Rosales who is playing Dorothy. Becky is a toy poodle/terrier mix who is playing Toto. Laura stated that there have been a few challenges to using a live dog, such as Becky having a tendency to grunt a little on stage, but overall it has been going well. “She isn’t always the most obedient when it comes to her entrances and exits, but we are experimenting with treats and yellow balls to get her to do what we want.”
For KHS seniors in the cast this will be their final high school show. One of those seniors is A.J. Sandoval who plays Aunt Em and Glinda. “I’ve been in just about every play throughout my high school career so this being my last show is very sad, but exciting. I’m glad we’re doing such a huge show to go out with a bang!”
“I have always enjoyed being on stage and it really saddens me that it will be my final show but why not end it with a big show The Wizard of Oz,” shared Victor Maldonado who plays Professor Marvel and the Wizard.
KHS junior Riley Garcia is playing the Scarecrow and this is his second production at KHS. “I am very active in the Kingsburg High School music department, and I have found musical productions to be very enjoyable and fun to be a part of. I am very excited to be playing the Scarecrow, and the show has been a lot of fun to work on over the last few months. However, line memorization sometimes gives me a nervous feeling, there are just so many!”
Immanuel High School in Reedley performed this show last year and assisted KHS by lending them set pieces and offering advice. Laura said that their biggest challenge was space. “We don’t have any fly space above our stage, so using multiple backdrops is a real challenge. This show involves a lot of scene changes and special effects and it has been a challenge to adapt the show to what our space and our budget can handle.”
The work of putting together any theatrical production is far more than most realize–from building the set, to costumes, to music and more. Laura is proud of how hard all of the kids have worked. “I am very proud of them and what they have accomplished.”
The Wizard of Oz opens at KHS on May 10 and runs through the 14th. It will be at KHS Little Theater, 1900 18th Avenue in Kingsburg. Showtimes are at 7:00 p.m. for the evening performances and 1:30 for the matinee on May 14. Doors will open half an hour before each performance. Tickets are $5 for children/students/seniors and $8 for adults. Call (559) 897-5156 for more information or advance purchase of tickets. Tickets can be purchased in advance or half an hour before each show.
Watch for another Local Live, here next Wednesday at 7 p.m