Independent TribuneFeatures Students take the stage in ‘The Wizard of Oz’

Students take the stage in ‘The Wizard of Oz’

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C.C. Griffin students hope the school’s first full-scale production might lead to a drama class at the school

By Jonathan E. Coleman
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The hot ticket in town this week has been to the Broadway hit “Wicked,” the prequel to the widely popular show “The Wizard of Oz.”

But for those who didn’t manage to secure a spot to the Ovens Auditorium “Wicked” show, students at C.C. Griffin have an alternative – catch their performance of the original story of Dorothy, Toto and the Wicked Witch of the West.

The idea for the production came from the students, some of whom got their first taste of the stage during a production of “Sherlock Holmes” in Christin Elligan’s class. The following year, students approached Elligan about doing a larger production at the school.

“The more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be a good idea,” Elligan said.

She joined forces with fellow teacher Melissa Morrison, and together the two started planning the school’s first full-scale production.

They held tryouts and narrowed the cast and crew to nearly 40 students. In October, students began learning their lines, a process that culminated in extended rehearsals this week before two nights of performances Friday and Saturday.

“I’m the Wicked Witch of the West and darn proud of it,” eighth grader Brittany Conner said. “I’ve seen the movie like a thousand times and love the character.”

Like many of the students in the performance, this will be Connor’s first big role in a theatrical show.

“It’s been a new experience,” said sixth grader Lexi Mathews. “Acting, you can be anybody you want to be. It’s like your own little world. Theater is all about fun.”

And while fun is a major goal, Elligan said there was plenty of work that went into getting a show of this size together. Fortunately, students, parents and friends have really risen to the challenge.

“It’s just so awesome the kind of dedication that these parents have,” she said. “As nervous as I am about the production, I’m really not nervous because the parents have worked so hard, and they’re going to love it.”

Elligan said she’s been surprised by the level of talent displayed by the students.

“The kids are phenomenal,” she said. “I’m just amazed at how quickly they learned their lines – at how good they are. I’m expecting the kids to come out and put on a good show.”

Both Elligan and Morrison expressed high hopes that the school’s first show would be a success, and are encouraged that the school is considering hiring a drama teacher, which would allow a creative outlet for students interested in taking part in upcoming shows.

“I think it would be a good idea to start a drama class because we need some extra (elective) classes,” said eighth grader Kayla Sawoski. “It would be enjoyable for students who like to do drama.”

• Contact Jonathan E. Coleman at 704-789-9105.


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