NEW CASTLE —
Too nice. Too tall. Too funny.
Actors in Union High’s musical production of “The Wizard of Oz” transformed and fine-tuned their personalities in preparation for tonight’s opening performance. The task presented challenges for director Diana M. Borowski’s cast.
Junior Amanda Carbone channeled her “inner Miss Borowski” in the role of Miss Gultch and the Wicked Witch of the West.
“She yells a lot,” Amanda said, joking. “I’m too happy all the time. I have to consciously think about being mean.”
Xavier Baynes’ height gave him an advantage for the role of the Tin Man. Despite some initial doubts, the Union High junior captured the part and welcomed the experience.
“It’s basically defining me,” Xavier said. “I’ve always been the big, tough guy. Deep inside, I’m a little sweetheart.”
Elijah Waters’ humor and clumsiness allowed him to fall into the character of the Scarecrow.
“I’m the class clown,” Elijah said. “You’ll now when I’m in the area because I’m loud. It’s just the way I am.”
As for agility, “my arms move but my legs don’t catch up with me.”
Borowski, a Union alumna and district teacher, looked for a production with a wide appeal and a large cast. The musical, a version based on the 1939 movie starring Judy Garland, matched her vision. It was last performed in Union more than 20 years ago.
“I wanted to get the younger kids involved,” she said. “This is actually the first show I ever performed in. I was a Munchkin when I was in the fourth grade, and it kind of got me started on the whole thing.”
Students in the third through fifth grades will take the stage as Munchkins. The district’s older students portray the Flying Monkeys, Poppies and the Citizens of Oz.
“It took the Munchkins two practices to have their lines memorized,” Borowski said. “They’re so excited to do it. You don’t have to give them much direction at all.”
Junior Mikalyn Lombardo stars as Dorothy. She has appeared in New Castle Playhouse and its youth theater, while being showcased in the Playhouse’s Mini Stars. This marks her first appearance on the Union High stage.
“It’s classic,” Lombardo said of the play. “It’s something everyone is familiar with.”
Danny Zoltani as the Cowardly Lion said there’s no middle ground for his part.
“I like the range of emotion I have to show,” he said. “Everything with the character is over the top. He’s either super scared or super courageous.
“All three male characters are the comedic relief. It seems like the Lion is the comedic relief of the comedic relief.”
Kiley Flynn, a senior, finds herself keeping good vibes as Aunt Em and Glinda, the Witch of the North.
“I have to be positive the entire play,” said Kiley, who has performed as a Playhouse dancer. “Even when bad things happen you have to just be happy.”
Borowski will include her little dog, too, in the musical. The director cast Tucker, a puggle, to represent Toto – perhaps the most famous dog in cinematic history.
John Westcott serves as the musical director, while Lorie Pezzano handles choreography.
NEW CASTLE —
Too nice. Too tall. Too funny.
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