No place like Garden Plain for classic musical

"The Wizard of Oz" blows onto the Garden Plain High School page March 14 and 16.

This story first appeared on the March 9, 2017 print edition of The Times-Sentinel. Subscribe to see stories like this sooner and for stories that appear only in print. Call 316-540-0500.

By Sam Jack

GARDEN PLAIN – Around 40 students from Garden Plain High School and Garden Plain Elementary will present the stage musical version of “The Wizard of Oz,” on Tuesday and Thursday at the high school.

Well-known because of the iconic film on which it is based, “The Wizard of Oz” takes Kansas farm girl Dorothy on a journey to the magical land of Oz and back again. Along the way, Dorothy learns that, “There’s no place like home.”

“It’s a great one, especially since we wanted to get lots of kids involved from the elementary school,” director Amy Ives said. “All the Munchkins, Winkies and Jitterbugs are elementary students. They really do have fun with it.”

Sophomore Jenna Nowak, who plays Glinda, the good witch of the south, enjoys working with the younger kids during her big scene in Munchkinland.

“I’ve always loved working with little kids, so this is just a great opportunity for me,” she said. “It’s actually really fun, at first I was kind of hesitant to play Glinda, but now I’m really happy I did.”

Nowak’s counterpart in witchery is senior Kori Scheer, who plays the Wicked Witch of the West. Her role does not call for any singing, but she did have to master the evil witch’s distinctive cackle. Friends have frequently asked her to demonstrate it for them.

“I guess it kind of just comes naturally,” Scheer said. “I love the Wicked Witch, and I can channel it pretty well. I just like being the bad guy.”

The leading players for Garden Plain’s “The Wizard of Oz” include Darby Doyle as Dorothy, Kara Heimerman as Aunt Em, Claire Clark as the scarecrow, Piper Bourne as the lion and Garrett Richardson as the tin man. Other cast members are Lydia Becker, Sydnee Becker, Colleen Teter, Sara Kelley, Alex Meyer, Emily Swaffer, Sydnee Becker, Madelyn Rolfs, Eli Eck, Kinsley Gordon, Kayleen Veach, Tate Nelson, Claire Rolfs, Christopher Wyant, Chloe McClure, Eva Ives, Ryann Meyer, Hayden Graves, Blakely Smith, Kaeden Kasselman, Evan Farmer, Kai Laird and Taylor Meyer.

Munchkins and Ozians are: Evan Farmer, Kai Laird, Eva Ives, Kaeden Kasselman, Claire Rolfs, Tate Nelson, Aubrey Mease, Blakeley Smith, Chloe McClure, Christopher Wyant, Eli Eck, Evan Brittain, Hayden Graves, Janelle Schauf, Katelyn Landwehr, Kayleen Veach, Kinsley Gordon, Ryann Meyer, and Lyndsee Ricke.

Winkie Guards and Ozians are: Hank Lilly, Blake Butterfield, Aaron Weber, Angelina Moyer, Briahnah Weber, Christopher Weber, Kyndal DeLong, Maci Kearn and Melanie Norwood.

Jitterbugs and “Optimistic Voices” are: Haidyn Thompson, Alyssa Poe, Aubrey Kitzmann, Reese Byers, Sawyer Byers, Sloane Byers, Abby Wimmer and Rylee Greer.

Winged Monkeys are: Ava Mies, Jaden Stuhlsatz and Kylie Whittle.

The set, costume and backstage crew includes Dustin Little, Lance Gordon, Alex Cordova, Conner Martin, Mathew Quintero, Marty Landwehr, Jolene Schauf, Terri Schauf, Chandler Kreutziger, Makayla Evans, Aaron Hagan and Tyler Ives.

Performances of “The Wizard of Oz” are Tuesday and Thursday, March 14 and 16, at 7 p.m. at the high school. Tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for grades K-8, GPHS students and those below school age free.

The Nest will serve Carlos O’Kelly’s on March 14 only, 5 to 6:45 p.m. in The Nest. Advance meal tickets are $8.50, or $9.50 at the door. The menu includes beef tacos and chicken enchiladas.