By EVELYN GOYETTE
Ladies and gentlemen, take your seats and silence your cell phones, the show is about to begin! This year, the Masuk drama department’s fall production is The Wizard of Oz. This popular show follows the main character, Dorothy, played by Audrey Lesko, through her adventures in the land of Oz. Along her journey, she meets many friends, including the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion, played by Izzy Tiska, Muriel Bailey and Jamie Grosso respectively. The Masuk drama department will be hosting this stunning show in less than a week on Nov. 18 and 19. This will be performed as a single-act show and will run for approximately 80 minutes.
The cast has spent hours practicing and nailing their songs and characters in order to make the perfect impression on the director, Tom Simonetti. Izzy Tiska, playing the Tin Man, said,
“I start to prepare for it by listening to my audition song on repeat. The way to impress Mr. S is to give it your all and not be afraid of going all out. I literally wore my prom heels to the audition to impress him,”
Each student who auditioned was tasked with preparing 16 measures of a song chosen by the director. “We give them options of what song they want to sing, we look for people who are prepared. The more prepared you are, the better off you’re gonna be in scoring a role in the show,” explained Simonetti. They then sign up for a time slot for their audition before Mr. Simonetti and Keri Salustri, the music director. The students were faced with on-the-spot changes to their auditions, such as being asked to perform their song as a monologue rather than a melody. This thoroughly tested the student’s abilities and allowed for the best casting calls to be made. Though the audition process was lengthy, the roles have been cast and the rehearsal process is well underway.
The cast is a tight-knit group, especially since for this show in particular, there are only 15 members. They are dedicated to working together as best they can to put on the best performance possible.
“Sometimes we will meet up together outside of school to bond more or go over lines during our downtime at rehearsal. In order to have something good on stage, you need to have the same good stuff off stage,” said Tiska.
When discussing the cast’s best attribute, Lesko said “ Everyone is hardworking and determined to get this to be a really great show.” These attributes hold high importance in their ability to pull off such a large and well-known show, especially since they have less than a week before opening night. This show is “a lot of pressure because everyone knows The Wizard of Oz,” she adds.
The cast met four times a week to do table reads and rehearse as a group; as well as practiced lines in their free time, dissolving themselves completely into their characters. Tiska shared,
“[The way] to really make the character your own and not just what’s written in a little paper book is to play around with it. Mr. S loves to tell us that we can always make stuff bigger. We have to try and think what they would think and do what they would do to really become one with our characters.”
Also sharing his excitement is Tierney, who says that he’s “excited for it to be my senior musical and to be the stage manager.” He’s looking forward to working and problem-solving with them in order to ensure that the show runs smoothly.
Less than a week before the show, the crew is jumping in to make the production aspect of the show perfect. The build crew is working hard on the set pieces that will bring the stage to life, painting and building many hours each day. “We’ve worked to prepare for the upcoming show by constantly rehearsing and practicing. We paint quickly and diligently, making sure it looks as good as a set can get,” said Olivia Malewicki, a member of the run and build crew.
Similarly, Robert Primorac, the technical director, as well as Aidan England, the student technical engineer, are working on fantastic and colorful lighting that will set the mood of the scenes. In the last couple of weeks before the show, “We start working with the director to get his artistic vision of how he wants the show to look, and then we translate that programming on our lightboard.” explains Primorac.
The run crew is familiarizing themselves with the show and the set pieces, with many new members learning what it means to be on the backstage crew. “As someone who’s only done this once, I feel like I am already a big part of it, I’ve painted, built, and did run crew,” said Malewicki. The next task is to work with the cast, practicing to create a phenomenal and flawless show, putting their all into the rehearsals.
Though the show can be stressful at times, it is extremely rewarding and exciting for the actors and crew to perform the final product of their hard work on opening night.
Malewicki added, “All the effort and hard work made through laughs and enjoyment being seen on stage is definitely something I can’t wait to see.” Everyone is extremely excited to put on this show for the Monroe community. Since they will be performing the entirety of the show in one sitting, the audience will be on the edges of their seats in anticipation. “All of us are looking forward to putting on the best show that we can,” says Lesko. “I think that is going to be a pretty magical experience.