Fall Musical 2009 - "The Wizard of OZ"

We decided to produce L. Frank Baum's ever popular The Wizard of Oz as our fall Musical in 2009.

The show received three nights of performances in the Jerry R. Knight Auditorium.

It was directed by Mrs. Romanowski, with art/technical direction by Mr.Schaefer, musical direction by Mr. Kinworthy and conducted by Chris Petersen, and choreography by Robin Berger. The show was stage managed by Laura Mitchler.

This show was a huge challenge for the department, and as with many of our shows at WGHS we were working right up to opening night.

The story is a rather elaborate tale and it takes the audience on a journey through many locations. Starting in reality (a farm in Kansas) which we designed entirely in sepia tones (browns and tan clothing, set pieces, make-up and props) to give it the feel of the movie.

Sienna Sears as Dorothy
singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

We did the traditional casting of the leads in this show, with several students playing multiple roles. The real trick was the application of the make-up in the transitions in and out of Oz and Farm.


The technical theater classes worked for almost three weeks straight creating and building the look of Munchkinland alone. Katie Siede, one of the costume designers on this show, spent two months handmaking all the skirts and bloomers for the little people. Then she hand-dyed and adorned each of the costumes with flowers. Great work for a student designer, everyone looked very colorful. Our pallette was warm tones for Munchkinland (pinks, reds, yellows, oranges)

Several students in class taught us how to fold origami iris flowers, we made about 50 of them (all different sizes), we also rolled about 50 paper roses, made cardboard leaves and wooden bases for the plants. It took almost three weeks of classtime to make all the decoration for Munchkinland alone.

All the flowers were then wired, painted, and glittered to perfection. This effect really worked once the cast took the stage and also had flowers on their costumes, in their hands, on their hats, and around them on the set. Munchkinland really became a fantastical place and one of the favorite moments in the show for the cast.


We had several wagon units in the show that were spun around and placed all over the stage for each scene to get us through all the locations of this crazy story. The two main wagons were double decker units that had built-in staircases and ladders that would allow for the actors to quickly ascend or descend the unit quickly.

Jerome Riley and Sienna Sears
as she begins down the yellow brick road

Daisy Hudspeth designed and painted the seven "Cornfield" set panels

We also designed scenic panels for each location (corn field, forest, Oz and the witch's castle) that attached to the tall wagons. These allowed us to do some addtional design for each of the major scenes and also made for really quick set changes. We made over 25 panels, all hand cut cardboard designs, most had multiple layers of cut-out cardboard, and all were handpainted and glittered.

Becca Theerman designed, built, painted
and glittered all 7 of the panels for Oz

Katie Wiese designed and hand sewed
all the adornments for the Ozian costumes

Stevie Trembley designed and painted the Witch's castle scenic panels.

We constructed many different scenic drops (flowers, windows, vines...etc) as well and many hand held scenic pieces like the apple orchard and haunted forest. The stage is so big we had to really work hard to fill the space creatively (and without spending anything...a lot of the materials were found or donated)

More costumes...

The tree people were costumed with a 10 piece cardboard masking of the body. They were all made with jigsawed cardboard, masking tape, elastic bands and then they were all hand-painted. Kaitlyn Tourette (Props Master) also had a hand in the scenery and made the branches for each tree person and the jungle greenery for the Lion's scene.

The Lion's costume and Dorothy's dresses
were created by Mrs. Romanowski and Katie Siede.

The Tin Man costume was constructed by Zack Poth
(who wore it on stage as well!)

The Scarecrow and Wicked Witch costume was assembled
by Robin Berger and Katie Wiese


The corn stalk panels designed
by Daisy Hudspeth 

And a big special thanks to all of the other costume help not mentioned here!

One of the T-shirt Designs for the show
by the incredible Louis Hayes
(we had two different t-shirts)

This has been the most elaborate production the department has tackled in a long time and the complexity of the show made for many other smaller challenges. Some worth mentioning are definitely the special FX and multimedia we added to the show.


The video crew had a major job on their hands with this show, but in the end it was well worth all the extra time spent filming and editing.

The highights:

1.) The movie we created of Dorothy in the tornado. We constructed a movie set on the Little Theater stage of Dorothy's bedroom (modeled after the MGM movie) and with several crew members and cast members we filmed the entire scene in one afternoon. Then Wil Trumper and Bobby Schindel (the video guys) took the footage and edited it into a beautiful short film that filled the scene change into Munchkinland brilliantly. (you can see the whole short film in the "Oz Montage"...follow the link at the bottom of this page)


2.) The Wizard of Oz floating head sequence that the video guys filmed on green screne and timed with the actor's dialogue to make the conversation work in real time on stage. It worked great and looked amazing in the end!

3.) They also had made a semi-successful attempt of the Aunt Em in the crystal ball and the Dorothy returning home with the heel's clicking videos.The crystal ball video didn't want to work every night, but when it did..it rocked!

Special Effects

Some fun tech stuff we got to play with in the production that we don't get to do very often...

  • Fog machine
  • Flash paper
  • Rope swinging
  • Trap doors

  • Katy Ibur as the Wicked Witch
    arriving in Munchkinland through the trap door in the wagon
    and in a cloud of fabulous fog


    The Cast

    Consisted of kids of all ages and of all different levels of experience in theater. Over 35 kids involved in the cast.

    We also had the opportunity to invite some of the staff's kids on stage as munchkins. We also had Zuzu the dog as Toto!!!

    What is it they say?
    Never share the stage with children and animals?

    The Leading Players

    Sienna Sears as Dorothy

    Jerome Riley as the Scarecrow

    Zack Poth as the Tin Man

    Sean O'Brien as the Lion

    Sarah Manuel as Aunt Em/Galinda

    Aaron Buleski as Uncle Henry/the Ozian Doorman

    Katy Ibur as Miss Gultch/Wicked Witch

    They arrive at the door to Oz...but can't seem to get in!

    Additonal Cast Members

    ...being added soon


    ...being added soon

    The BAND

    ...being added soon


    Watch a Video Montage of the show
    by following the link below


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