Sunday, April 20, 2014

Actors successfully stretch talents in the JSMS production of "The Wizard of Oz" - By Jim Beers

The Jordan-Small Middle School Drama Club rang in spring by presenting the all-time classic play, The Wizard of Oz. With two showings, Friday and Saturday night, 41 students took part in putting on one of the most memorable stories in history. As the lights darkened to begin, beautifully scored music took the crowd on a ride back in time as Dorothy was swept away with her little dog Toto, played by fifth-grader Aaron Rhoades. 

With creative special effects as well as neatly choreographed dance routines, the JSMS Drama Club wowed the guests that filled Roadrunner Gym on both nights. 

"It was really fun. I was a little nervous to start but I settled in once it got going," said Hunter Dionne, an eighth grader at JSMS, who starred in the play as Uncle Henry, and also took on three other smaller roles. Hunter has been in the Drama Club for three years and has appeared in other plays, such as "15 Reasons not to be in a Play", and "Defying Gravity". Many of the cast doubled and tripled their roles and responsibilities to make the huge production a complete success. 

The swift-moving scenes as well as the prop and background changes, kept the story flowing and the audience hanging on every word. Bright costumes danced across the stage in flashes of color as Dorothy and her friends tried desperately to find their way back home. Auntie Em was played by 8th grader Carleigh Steele, a 2-year member of the drama team, who played two other roles as well. "It was really, really fun...a little tiring, but everyone put in so much work. It was great to meet and work with the fifth graders who at first were shy about being in the play," she said. 

Dorothy Gale was played by eighth-grader Natalie Walker, the Tin Man was played by sixth-grader Savana Bradford, the Scarecrow was played by eighth-grader Maggie Nunn and the Lion was played by eighth-grader Sophey Potter. The Wicked Kitch was played by Dani Meader. Glinda was Nora Laprise, an eighth grader, and the Wizard of Oz was played by eighth-grader Walter Blackman.  
After intermission, the story ramped up with intense action, beautiful songs, and funny lines that kept the capacity crowd peaked with curiosity until the very end. In what was a total RSU14 and local business effort, there are many in both towns, (Raymond and Windham), who combined to help make this year's play a very special and unique experience.  

"I am always amazed by the hard work and dedication of our drama students each year. Every actor and stage crew member worked to put together a charming version of The Wizard of Oz that showcased a lot of talent, cooperation and commitment.  The cast made considerable progress from auditions to opening night, and their confidence developed and grew over the many weeks of rehearsals.  It was a blast to work with these delightful and capable performers!", said Patricia Valley, who is a teacher at JSMS and combined with Dr. Pamela Chabora to choreograph The Wizard of Oz. 

From beginning to end, the JSMS Drama Club members all had a hand in every aspect of the play. Upon coming out to take their bows, the cast and crew were treated to rousing ovations and cheers on both nights, by their classmates, teachers, family and friends.

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