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Wenona’s Wizard of Oz

Last weekend, the Wenona community went off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz. He was definitely ‘a whiz of a whiz’, as were the cast, crew and musicians!

After Wenona’s successful 2017 production of Disney’s Mary Poppins, the School waited with bated breath to find out what the theme was for this year’s musical. So, there was great excitement in Term 1 when it was announced that it would be The Wizard of Oz. After all, who doesn’t love the 1939 award-winning Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film starring Judy Garland as Dorothy! And who doesn’t remember all the words to Somewhere over the Rainbow!

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After months of rehearsals, Wenona’s production of The Wizard of Oz finally took to the stage last weekend at the Concourse Theatre, Chatswood for four incredible performances. Dr Scott loved it so much she went twice!

Addy (Year 11) took the lead role of Dorothy, Ginger (Year 10) was the Scarecrow, Ellie (Year 10) was the Tin Man, Matilda (Year 10) was the Cowardly Lion, Molly (Year 10) was Aunt Em, Greta (Year 11) was Uncle Henry, Claudia (Year 11) was Professor Marvel and the Wizard of Oz, Lara (Year 11) was Glinda the Good Witch and Georgia (Year 10) was the Wicked Witch of the West. They were joined by curious munchkins, malevolent witches, flying monkeys, dancing jitterbugs and even a group of singing trees!

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Director of Performing Arts, Ms Lemon said, “The girls were magnificent in their roles, whether they were performing on stage, supporting the cast or playing in the orchestra. And they absolutely loved seeing their friends, family and teachers in the audience!”

Of course, as Ms Lemon pointed out, a production like this does not happen without an amazing team. “It was wonderful to welcome back Mr Jordan Vassallo and Mr Cameron Boxall, who directed and choreographed Wenona’s production of Disney’s Mary Poppins in 2017. Their vision, patience and creativity, as well as their energy was phenomenal throughout our Oz journey. Thank you!”

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As every Wizard of Oz fan knows, no journey down the yellow brick road would be complete without Dorothy in her signature gingham dress! Teaching Assistant, Mrs Suzie Riley, took on the Herculean task of Wardrobe Coordinator. Over four long months, she, along with her parent helpers, made costumes for more than 110 performers, some of whom had numerous costume changes!

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“I’d like to say an enormous thank you to Mrs Riley and all the parents who worked tirelessly for months to create and fit all manner of crazy costumes from munchkins, to crows, to dancing tin men, to guards, monkeys, poppies and trees, to Ozians,” said Ms Lemon. “They were as spectacular as always. We couldn’t have done it without you, so thank you!”

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The School would also like to recognize individual members of staff who helped to make the production a success. Thank you to Musical Director, Ms Jessica Farrell who gave of her time and expertise to lead the cast with their singing and conducted the orchestra throughout the show. Thank you to Ms Fenella Jolly who stage-managed the production and organised and created the props and sets. Thank you to Dr Dianne Langan, Ms Jennifer Jones, Ms Bridie O'Mahony, Ms Emma Gutierrez and Ms Zoe Sun from the Performing Arts and Music Departments, who helped backstage and side stage throughout the production, prompting, changing microphones, keeping the students focused and occasionally dog handling too! We would also like to acknowledge Repetiteur, Mr Anthony Pasquill and the Music peripatetic staff who played in the orchestra, supported the student musicians and helped students to perfect their songs. And we'd like to recognise the co-curricular staff, teachers and parents who gave up their time to supervise students during rehearsals and shows, along with the professional services staff who helped to move equipment, organise buses, create the program and promote the show.

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They say never work with children or animals, but Ms Lemon is eternally grateful to the Connolly family who stepped in at the eleventh hour to offer the services of their precious dog Lola. She was unfazed by the Wicked Witch of the West and earned her Doggie treats as “the world's most fabulous Toto!”

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“We might have some tired students (and staff!) on our hands after four great shows,” said Ms Lemon, “but it was a fantastic experience. Hopefully, The Wizard of Oz is a memory the girls will treasure long after they finish school.”

A huge congratulations to everyone involved in the Wizard of Oz, but in the words of Dorothy, “There’s no place like home!” Rest up everyone – you were fabulous!