You can be off to see ‘The Wizard’ at Frontier

  • Frontier Regional School students Phaelon Koski, far left, Patrick McGranaghan, left, Darian Myers, right, and Kathryn Daughton, far right, rehearse for The Wizard of Oz Friday, March 9, 2018. Recorder Staff—

  • Frontier Regional School students rehearse for The Wizard of Oz Friday, March 9, 2018. Recorder Staff—

Recorder Staff
Saturday, March 10, 2018

SOUTH DEERFIELD — “Do we have the music for the haunted forest?” asked David Peck, director of Frontier Regional’s version of “The Wizard of Oz,” seated in the front row of the North Main Street school’s auditorium.

Foreboding music began to play, and seniors Kathryn Daughton, carrying a picnic basket and playing Dorothy, Darian Myers as the Lion, and Patrick McGranaghan, playing Scarecrow, followed by junior Phaelon Koski, dressed as the Tin Man, entered from stage left.

“So far so good. Just like every musical, it’s a lot of work. But we’ve got a great crop of kids this year, they’re all in, and we’re going to cross the finish line,” Peck said later, during a break in rehearsal.

Since January auditions, students have rehearsed often for opening curtain Friday, March 16 at 7 p.m. Following performances will be held Saturday, March 17, at the same time and Sunday, March 18, beginning at 3 p.m.

Performing alongside Daughton, Myers, McGranaghan, and Koski are Seniors Emily Menard as the Witch and Ella Deane as Linda.

“There are some pretty big, involved sequences — ‘Munchkinland,’ the tornado scene — there’s a lot going on. We get pretty much everyone on the stage,” said Max Sherrill, a music teacher at the school who’s coordinating the play’s musical numbers.

Last year, Sherrill directed Frontier’s first musical in 20 years, “Guys and Dolls,” which was well received by students and the local community. Since then, the school’s drama club has seen increased membership, he said.

“The involvement is up, the excitement is there, and people are really anticipating it,” Sherrill continued. Come Friday, there will be about 40 students working on and off the stage.

Big show, big challenges

Based on the musical’s scope, Peck said there have been some technical challenges.

“‘The Wizard of Oz’ is a fantastical show. It’s not rooted in reality,” Peck said. Because of that, students and volunteer parents have worked overtime to finalize props and costumes. Despite the hurdles, Peck expressed certainty that everything will be ready for opening day.

“Basically, everything with the musical has expanded,” said Melissa Strelke, the play’s choreographer. “We set a bar for ourselves last year. This year, there are a lot of moving parts, and we’re working to get those pieces together.”

Breathing life into beloved characters like Dorothy, the Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Man is a first for many students, but for Myers it’s a familiar script. A decade ago, Myers’ stepped on stage for the first time in “The Wizard of Oz.”

“I played a brick in yellow brick road. I’ve stepped it up this year,” Myers said. Looking to graduation, Myers said, “I’m leaving this year, and I’m happy to leave behind a legacy for younger students.”

“The Wizard of Oz,” written by Frank Baum and presented by Frontier Regional’s drama and music department in association with Tams-Witmark Music Library, will be performed in school’s auditorium at 113 North Main St. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for everyone else.

You can reach Andy Castillo

at: acastillo@recorder.com

or 413-772-0261, ext. 263

On Twitter: @AndyCCastillo