Belvidere North’s Wizard of Oz play: Cast perspectives

Belvidere North's Wizard of Oz play: Cast perspectives

Kieran Mehlig

Belvidere North’s Wizard of Oz play took place at the Performing Arts Center on February 16-18, and according to the cast, it was a success. Some of these talented individuals also took the time to share their performance experiences to reveal what it was like participating in this stellar play. 

Dorothy, the lead role of the play, was acted out by senior, Deja Sandkam. Sandkam expected the lead role to be easy. What she didn’t expect was all of the hard work that went into the role and all of the new friends she gained from it. 

“People, like me, may think that having the lead would be a breeze, but it is one of the most difficult characters to play,” said Sandkam. “It is the lead that is leading the story, hence why it is called a lead. There is so much work involved that I wasn’t expecting, but there were a few benefits. I befriended people that I didn’t think I could ever be friends with, and I got the chance to grow close to everyone I was in scene with. I am so grateful for the opportunity to play that character.” 

The Cowardly Lion, a key character, was played by senior, Christopher Christ. Christ said that playing his role was incredible. He loves being on stage, and he always expects the best from his performance crew. 

“The cast and crew in any show put in hours and hours of work from memorizing lines to blocking, all the way to set building and painting,” said Christ. “We put in all this work for a few simple showings of a play or musical. The effort put forth by everyone involved in the Wizard of Oz has a direct impact on how the show will turn out. The Wizard of Oz is just one more step along a trail of shows to come, and support to the shows and fine arts is the best reward for putting on a good show!” 

Another senior cast member, Macy Oldani, played Glinda the Good Witch. Oldani thinks that Glinda was the ideal role for her personality. She loves singing, acting, and all of her cast members, and she thinks everyone performed well in the play. 

“I think the play went way better than planned, and I’m proud of where we were at the end from where we started a week ago,” said Oldani. “In the end I believe everyone deserved the role they got, and everyone did a fantastic job, and the last show was definitely one to remember.” 

Freshman, Derrick Miller was part of the ensemble, and senior, Anna Karl was part of the feature ensemble. For those who don’t know what the ensembles contribute to the play, Derrick helped explain in detail. 

“Ensemble means you assist the lead roles by sustaining scenes with background characters and assistance in big scenes. Ensemble means all together, and so it’s many people working together to achieve one goal. For this purpose, we were mainly working on the big dances and large scenes.” As an example, Anna Karl told of her experience performing in the feature ensemble. 

“I was casted as feature ensemble, so I played the flying cow, a tree, a crow, a winkie, a jitterbug, an ozian, and a poppy/snowman, and it was definitely stressful because there were a lot of costume changes,” said Karl. “But it was incredible getting to do backflips 15 feet in the air.” Overall the two seemed satisfied with their own performance and that of their crew members. 

Miller also came back to say: 

“I think the play went well. Although there were some mistakes, most of them went undetected, and some of the mistakes were even funny.” 

The final cast perspective of the Wizard of Oz is Mr. David Zimmerman, one of the directors, who also had positive feedback on the performance. This was Zimmerman’s first time directing a musical, and it seems like he enjoyed the experience. 

Directing the Wizard of Oz was a very different experience for me,” said Zimmerman. “I had never directed a musical before, and there are so many other people involved. For Belvidere North’s plays, usually I am responsible for the set design, costumes, and everything else, but there are so many other people from costumers, choreographers, and music directors that I never had to coordinate with before. Overall I really enjoyed it as someone who performs in and loves musical theatre.”

Zimmerman ended his evaluation with this: 

“I was very happy with our final production. I was blown away by how many people came to see the show, at least 300 people at every performance. It is super humbling and makes me very happy that I came to North this year. The greatest thing about a show though is the day that it ends. There is something bittersweet to a closing performance, but it just means that I can move to the next project.”