Sam Luptak Jr.
New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
Ellwood City Lincoln High School will take you “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” with its annual “spring musical in the fall.”
The production of “The Wizard of Oz” runs tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday for a total of four performances in the high school auditorium.
The “spring musical in the fall” has been a longstanding tradition at Ellwood City High. The reasons are rather self-explanatory. With all other high school musicals in the spring, people are often overwhelmed by the sheer volume of shows. Doing a fall musical sets them apart from everyone else. The second and more practical reason for the tradition is that students have less conflict in their schedules, making more kids available.
This production of “The Wizard of Oz” has a lot to live up to. It comes on the heels of last year’s highly successful and vocally challenging “Les Miserables,” which packed audiences and raised the bar of expectations for what Ellwood City High School is capable of doing. But this year’s cast recognizes that challenge and promises to live up to it.
“Our directors pick shows based on the cast,” says Michael Butchelli, 17, who plays the Cowardly Lion, “And we have the perfect cast, but it’s our directors that make the biggest difference. They have directed this show three or four times. They know it inside and out.”
Butchelli says it has been his dream to play the Lion ever since he was in first grade, when he played a munchkin in the last production of “Wizard” done by Lincoln.
Dorothy Gale, is played by 16-year-old junior Marina Thetford. She explains how the stage play differs from the popular 1939 movie, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary next year.
“A lot of the characters are more interesting,” she said. “The witches have a lot more character. And there is a whole song, ‘The Jitterbug’ that is not in the movie.”
Junior Allena Kucan, who plays the wicked witch, agrees. “The witch is a lot more evil than I expected, but she is also a lot funnier in the musical.”
Junior Lori Rectenwald plays Glinda the Good Witch. She describes Glinda as very, pretty, prim and proper. She’s pretty much awesome and I see that in me.,” said Rectenwald with a self-deprecating chuckle.
Another actor who sees a lot of himself in his character is freshman Joey Cortez, 14, who plays the Scarecrow. He is alone among his fellow cast mates in that he has not seen the movie, but says in a lot of ways the Scarecrow is him in real life.
“He’s kind of a stupid, funny, smiley guy everyone wants to be, that’s me,” he said.
Junior Patrick Freed, who plays the tin man, said he is drawing heavily on the influence of the movie for his character.
“The movie is a prime example of how the characters ought to be.” His goal he says is to live up to that legacy.
The Wizard is played by 16-year-old junior Andrew Short. Like Cortez, Short sees a lot of himself in the character.
“The wizard means well, but he is somewhat lazy and a trickster. I am that person. I am a humbug!” he said with a laugh.
The seven aforementioned leads had roles in nearly 50 shows before “Wizard,” including several key roles in last year’s “Les Mis.” That experience and the nearly three months of rehearsal bodes well for a production which will feature 85 munchkins from the elementary and 35 other high schoolers in the cast. The show features witches and monkeys that really fly, and a full student orchestra which will raise the quality even higher.
When asked if they had any final message, several students chimed in together “Come see it! We promise you a great show! This is a show you don’t want to miss!”
“Wizard of Oz” Cast List
Dancers: Elise Amonette, Sophia Gagliano, Erin Gatto, Sayje Gatto and Victoria Ketterer, Lacey Lopes Nikki Miller (crow) and Alyssa Sedgwick (crow)
Ensemble: Louis Slavic (monkey), Caryn Brandes, Claire Brandes, Mady Bubb, Camilla Cortez, Tyler Cunningham, Kyleigh Edinger, Jade Engle, Vanessa Huth, Karsyn Lutz, Michaela Magnifico, Tara Marsh, Patricia McMillin, Madeline Spadafore, Jadyn Sudano, Katie Tomak, Cassie Widmaier, Julie Williams and Tabatha Zang.
Trees: Kalee Foreman, Jordan Gilchrist, Kayla Murin, Madison Pawlak, Christa Pierce and Sami Young
Featured Singer: Annie Macom
Aunt Em: Megan O’Donnell
Hickory: Joshua Catanzariti
Dorothy: Marina Thetford
Glinda: Lori Rectenwald
Hunk: Michael Fenechi
Lion: Michael Butchelli
Miss Gultch: Abby Konyak
Munchkin coroner: Tyler Gatto
Munchkin mayor: Keegan Reisinger
Scarecrow: Joseph Cortez
Tin man: Patrick Freed
Uncle Henry: Dominic Nocera
Wicked Witch: Alena Kucan
Wizard: Andrew Short
Zeke: Tyler McCowin and Alex Tomak
Munchkins: Olivia Andrews, Owen Andrews, Olivia Bailey, Abby Baker, Madison Baker, Dae’Jhua Barge, Graciemae Barge, Riley Barge, Kaci Barnett, Kali Barnett, Lexi Barnhart, Tarah Barton, Luke Bleakney, Alexis Brown, Jack Brown
Alivia Caplinger, Madelyn Carner, Xavier Carter, Izabella Contino, Kaela Copper, Zach Corbin, Mitchell Covert, Aidan Crepp, Ian Crepp, Brooklyn DeBlasio, Mya DeBlasio, Jessica Durnell, Elizabeth Edinger, Harleigh Edinger, Kennedy Eichler, Trinity Elchison
Bree Falesnik, Morgan Falesnik, Ayden Frisk, Giulian Frisk, Mackenzie Gavrile, Connor Grinnen, Kailyn Hamp, Scarlett Hazen, Madison Hicks, Adiella Hoffman, Morgan Hooker, Allison Hughes, Gaetanio Hunter, Natalie Jones
Gabrielle Kalantzis, Helena Kalantzis, Allison Ketterer, Halle Laurain, Jaidyn LeViere, Kiley LeViere, Maleah Lott, Kamdyn Lutz, Charli Sue Madison, Natalie Maine, Mia Meredith, Asiah Merten, Sierra Mesko, Carlee Meyer, Madison Montero, Cordelia Morehouse, Jocelyn Morehouse, Brady Muhullidge, Caitlyn Mulig
Mia Nash, Josephine Newhams, Mia Newman, Alexis Newton, Sarah Odom, Ciara Paniagua, Calista Poole, Gareth Poole, Kaden Schlichtkrull, Sara Schwarz, Brianne Shio, Alexander Shutack, Kayla Shutack, Matthew Spielvogel, Emma Strohecker, Paige Ivy Wearing, Makenzie Werner and Zachary Wiley
Stage crew: James Barge, Austin Brandes, Chris Brandt, Roy Champion, Trevor Cunningham, Griffen Ewing, Kaden Fernandez, Gemma Gatto, Nick Jones, Calvin Lample, Tomas Maielli, Dakota Marshall, Caden Ochsenhirt, Jon Sedgwick, Maiya Sheets, Laura Wardman, Reece Wilson and Seth Zellhart