Send in the flying monkeys!: Leonard Theatre Club bringing ‘The Wizard of Oz’ to the stage Feb. 10

Heading down the yellow brick road are (from left) Sarah Phelps (The Wizard of Oz), Quentin Collison (winged monkey), Dominic LoCascio (Nikko), Gianna Gilbertson (munchkin), Alexis Partee (Cowardly Lion) and Eva Rayner (Tin Man). Behind them are Co-Directors Lauren LoCascio (left) and Chrystal Boyl. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio.
Heading down the yellow brick road are (from left) Sarah Phelps (The Wizard of Oz), Quentin Collison (winged monkey), Dominic LoCascio (Nikko), Gianna Gilbertson (munchkin), Alexis Partee (Cowardly Lion) and Eva Rayner (Tin Man). Behind them are Co-Directors Lauren LoCascio (left) and Chrystal Boyl. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio.

Members of the Leonard Elementary Theatre Club are “off to see the wizard” and they’re hoping lots of folks will join them on their musical journey along the yellow brick road.

The club will bring “The Wizard of Oz” to the stage of the Oxford High School Performing Art Center (745 N. Oxford Rd.) on Saturday, Feb. 10. Showtime is 6 p.m.

“Tickets are $10 for adults and admission is free for all kids,” said Director Lauren LoCascio, who founded the theatre club in 2016. “All tickets will be available at the door.”

LoCascio picked the classic musical because of its “well-known” story and songs, and because it offered more kids the opportunity to spend a little time in the spotlight.

“We needed a show that had a lot of roles,” she said.

That’s because the theatre club’s ranks have grown from the original 33 members to 44.

Interest in the club grew quite a bit following last year’s successful performance of Disney’s “The Lion King KIDS.”

“We were blown away by what they did on stage,” LoCascio said. “They all really rose to the occasion. Everybody acted very professionally.”

“We were surprised last year by how much talent there was at the school,” she noted. “This year, we had even more kids come out.”

The young thespians began rehearsing in September and are now giving it their all twice a week in preparation for their big night.

“It’s going well,” LoCascio said. “The kids have learned a lot.”

Some familiar faces from last year’s musical will once again take center stage.

Peyton McDevitt will play Dorothy, while Riley McDevitt will bring the Wicked Witch of the West to life.

The Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion will be portrayed by Finn McDevitt, Eva Rayner and newcomer Alexis Partee.

LoCascio was quite impressed with Partee’s level of talent.

“When she auditioned, we found out that she has an unbelievable voice,” LoCascio said. “She’s kind of a quiet girl, but when she sings, she’s like a different kid. I didn’t expect that voice to come out of this small, quiet girl.”

Although this is an elementary-level theatre club, LoCascio assured roles are earned through merit alone.

“I think that’s important,” she said. “The person that auditioned best got the role . . . Nobody was just given a role.”

LoCascio believes participating in theatre club helps students “step out of their comfort zone” and become “risk-takers.”

It also teaches them to work together.

“Theatre club is a team sport,” LoCascio said. “Everybody relies on each other.”

Because the club contains a variety of ages, including kindergartners, who were added this year, LoCascio said it allows the kids to mix and work with others outside their normal social groups.

In the future, she wants to get club members more involved in the “creative process” as far as costumes and set design.

“I want them to be part of everything that encompasses theater, not just the performance,” LoCascio said.

 

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