Portola Pilot

Follow the Yellow Brick Road: A Review of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Musical

Dorothy%2C+Scarecrow%2C+Tinman+and+the+Lion+are+about+to+embark+on+their+journey+to+the+Land+of+Oz.+
Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman and the Lion are about to embark on their journey to the Land of Oz.

Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman and the Lion are about to embark on their journey to the Land of Oz.

Photo by Maya Sabbaghian

Photo by Maya Sabbaghian

Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman and the Lion are about to embark on their journey to the Land of Oz.

Maya Sabbaghian, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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Somewhere over the rainbow soared the second annual musical, “The Wizard of Oz.” A stunning display of talented performers, crew members and directors, “The Wizard of Oz” successfully merged visual and performing arts programs to create a memorable show, transporting viewers into the 1939 classic.

The casting of many of the actors were a perfect fit. Dorothy Gale (Rachel Abalos) instantly reminded me of the original Dorothy played by Judy Garland. With a strong singing voice and innocent demeanor, Abalos fit the role perfectly, smoothly drawing the audience into the show. Her polite attitude served as a stark contrast to the Wicked Witch of the West (Mahum Khan), who mastered the high-pitched, evil cackle.

One of my favorite scenes was when a trio of trees (Tabitha Bradley, Aliyah Davis and Kylie Palacio) threw apples at Dorothy and the Scarecrow (Eric Hao). The harmony of their singing paired with the humor of the scene was enticing.

Another highlight of the show was the scene in which Portola Springs elementary school students playing the Munchkins along with other Portola High actors welcomed Dorothy to the Land of Oz. The cute, yet slightly off-beat dancing of the young children put a smile on the faces in the audience.

A large improvement from last year’s musical was the incorporation of a live orchestra instead of pre-recorded tracks. The difference is astounding, with the rich, intertwining sounds of strings, winds and percussion. The two-hours of rehearsed music accompanied the singers’ voices in a melodic manner.

The choreography for much of the musical was upbeat and simple, making it fun to watch and easy to follow. Paired with the music, it made me want to dance and sing along with the actors on stage.

Another critical aspect to the success of the show was the stage design and props. Although there were a few small malfunctions, such as the curtain that Oz (Nicholas Sanchez) hides behind falling as Toto (stuffed animal) “pulls” it open, the overall design paired effectively with lighting to set each scene.

One of the best scenes in terms of combining stage design, costumes and lighting was where Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tinman (Youssef Yassin) and the Lion (Ian Aros) marched through a field of poppies, falling under a sleeping spell from the Wicked Witch. The actors on stage held vibrant paper poppies while dressed as the flower itself. During the scene, snowflakes were strung down from above the actors while a deep red light flooded the stage, creating a beautiful and mysterious image.

“The Wizard of Oz” is ultimately another musical in the books. A step up from last year’s, it sets a strong precedent for the classes to come. Each scene flowed seamlessly throughout the performance, and in the end, I was reluctant to click my ruby heels and return home, back to my seat in a dark theater.

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Follow the Yellow Brick Road: A Review of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Musical