A story Sam Herwood considers one of the first American fairy tales will be presented by Homer junior high schoolers today and tomorrow (Friday).
The play known as The Wizard of Oz: Youth Edition will be held at 4:30 p.m. today, and 7 p.m. Friday at the Bonne Auditorium in Homer Intermediate School. The cost for each show is $5 at the door.
“There’s so much to love about this play,” said Herwood, Homer junior high’s drama club director for nine years and director of plays for four years.
Herwood, who remembers singing “Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland (who played Dorothy in the classic 1939 film) when he was four years old, said it’s a story most people know, whether it’s from the movie or the book.
“It’s a timeless story that speaks to a wide number of people, young and old,” Herwood said.
The principal cast of the play includes Leah Cauthan as Dorothy, Toby Carr as The Scarecrow, Luke Bertram as the Tin Man, Marek Andre as the Cowardly Lion and Antonella Caravella as the Wicked Witch of the West.
“There have been a lot of bonding moments throughout the play. It’s brought us closer together as friends,” said Andre, who’s been in plays since he was second grade.
Cauthan is participating in her first play, while the rest of the cast has appeared in plays since they were six or seven years old.
“I like (how the play) brought me and the cast together,” Cauthan said. “It was a different family that I could go to and an escape from other things.”
Caravella noted how comforting it’s been around the cast and how they hype each other up. Andre added this is something the entire cast and crew has been working since this past November.
“We’ve worked really hard on this,” Carr said. “We did a bunch of good team work.”
Herwood has enjoyed watching his students learn and grow in theater.
“When we educate students in the arts, it helps them become more well-rounded and balanced individuals on top of everything they’ve learned and everything they’re involved in,” he added.
Bertram said it’s been “awesome seeing all of the different things come together” for the play.
“The humor and expressions are just amazing,” Bertram said. “Dororthy has memorized lines in the 100s, maybe 200s. It’s going to be beautiful and a really cool thing.”
Cauthan and Carr mentioned the plethora of funny parts to the play, along with the greatness of it overall.
“In general, it’s a good, light-concepted play,” Andre said. “It’s fun, enthusiastic and surely draws your attention if you come to see it.”
Bertram expressed that the play is for everyone, with Caravella adding it’s something all families are going to love.
“It’s a show that the entire family can enjoy,” Herwood said. “It’s always good to support the arts and the community arts programs, but also the arts in schools. It’s worth seeing.”