The Wizard of Oz Finally Makes Its Return to AE/MS

Play had been put on hold due to COVID

By Aubrey Simard (8th grade) and Kasey Schoch (ELA Teacher)
Sixth grader Bria Tremblay performs her spellbinding solo, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” in the long awaited AE/MS performance of The Wizard of Oz. Caption: Kasey Schoch. Photo: Jennifer Bent

Two years ago, when COVID-19 shut down schools, The Wizard of Oz was less than two weeks away from opening night. Sadly, the performance that the cast worked so hard on was never able to be presented to the community. 

Finally, the show did go on! Since most of the roles were held by students that had moved on to high school, all of the parts had to be recast with new performers.  Students as young as third grade were given the opportunity to be a part of the new production.

Seventh Grade Ben Simard wows the crowd with his song about being the king of the forest in The Wizard of Oz. Caption: Kasey Schoch. Photo: Jennifer Bent

When asked why it was decided to keep The Wizard of Oz as the play rather than starting with something new and fresh, Katie Dow replied, “I wanted to see the production of The Wizard of Oz happen because of all the work that went into the set design, building, and painting from 2019 and 2020.  Mike Wiley built all the sets, and we transitioned to having a projection screen with animated backgrounds. There was a lot of initial investment in the first production, so the show had to go on!”

With new kids ready and putting in time and effort, the show would go on!  The main roles were finally cast. Dorothy (Bria Trembley), The Scarecrow (Ryleigh Perry), The Lion (Ben Simard), The Tinman (Amelia Bryant), Glenda the Good Witch (Evian Powers), and finally the Wicked Witch of the West (Briley Mudgett) led the many other cast members to a fantastic performance.

The entire cast and crew put in a lot of time and effort to put the show on as quickly as possible, hoping that the virus wouldn’t end up putting things on hold once again.  With the stage direction of Katie Dow, music direction of Alex Ager, and choreography direction by Kyle Tremblay, the play debuted on December 17 with a weekend of performances that were enjoyed by all.

“It was so exciting to see the students perform in front of a live audience,” added Ms. Dow. “They had three shows, and the cast and backstage crew just got better each time.  There were many hours of rehearsals, but it really paid off. The play would not have been possible without all the hard work of staff members and parents.”

Music Director Alex Ager reflected after the show by saying, “It was incredible to finally perform the show. Being able to work in person with this year’s cast and crew was a wonderful experience. I got to see the vocal talents of our students grow and shine throughout the whole rehearsal and performing process. The students brought so much energy and life to their roles and it showed in their performances.”