Follow the Yellow Brick Road
ACGC freshman Audrey Stowe rehearses her role as Dorothy for the school’s production of “The Wizard of Oz”, including the part where she slaps her older brother Collin Stowe, who plays the Cowardly Lion.
“It’s funny,” Stowe said, admitting the support of her older brother beside her on stage has been nice.
Stowe, who showcases her musical talent by singing songs like “Over the Rainbow” and “Off to See the Wizard”, plays the young girl who along with her little dog, Toto, are whisked away by a tornado to a magical land.
“It’s family-friendly and so sweet,” said Audrey Stowe. “It’s really good for all ages and I hope people will come and support it.”
Stowe, 15, said she feels honored to have been chosen to play Dorothy.
“It’s a big honor,” she said. “I went in for a smaller part just to be part of it. She chose me and I’m really excited.”
Kelsey Moran, vocal director at ACGC high school, who is directing the production, said it was a difficult show to cast.
“I had so many talented students audition,” she said.
Moran held call-backs to help narrow down the list and then took into consideration the student’s talents, as well as their reliability and coach-ability skills.
“Audrey’s sweet, accurate and innocent voice was exactly the voice I was looking for,” she said.
Auditions were held in August and rehearsals started for the star-studded cast the first week of September.
“For many of the students, their days begin in musical rehearsal at 7 a.m. and end with musical rehearsal at 8 p.m.,” Moran said.
Moran’s Music Appreciation students handled most of the scenery and props. ACGC band director Kyra Babcock has put together the pit orchestra, with several talented instrumentalists in the area, including some from Jefferson and Audubon. Locals Dale and Debbie Menning also share their talents accompanying the production.
Moran said The Wizard of Oz is her favorite musical of all time.
“It was the very first movie and musical I ever watched as a kid,” she said.
Moran played the leading role of Dorothy as a senior in high school at Coon Rapids-Bayard. In fact, the iconic dress worn by Stowe in this year’s production, is the same dress Moran wore 10 years ago.
“I tried it on and it still fits,” Moran said.
Take a journey down the yellow brick road when the ACGC Drama Department in conjunction with the Music Department presents The Wizard of Oz this weekend.
The fast-paced musical based on L. Frank Baum’s classic will be performed November 11, 7:00 p.m. and November 12, 2:00 p.m. inside the ACGC high school auditorium in Guthrie Center.
The much-beloved story tells of the adventures of Dorothy and her dog Toto, who is played by Jazz, a furry friend owned by Dale and Debbie Menning, as they follow the Yellow Brick Road to meet the Wizard in hopes of returning home. Along the way, they meet a Scarecrow (Matt Hanner) who needs a brain, a Tin Man (Daniel Jayne) missing a heart and a Cowardly Lion (Collin Stowe) who wants courage.
The production is colorful with valuable life lessons infused throughout every scene. Aunt Em (Sara Schmeling), Miss Almira Gulch (Regan Sheeder), the Wicked Witch of the West (Aubrey Chmelar) and Glinda the Good Witch (Klare Sheley) help bring the story to life on stage.
“Musicals are a lot of work,” Moran said. “Not only do the students spend hours memorizing their lines, but we also have to incorporate numerous songs and choreography.”
Moran is excited for others to come see how hard they’ve worked.
“Whether I am in a show and on the stage, or directing and running things behind the scenes, theatre opened up a whole new world to me when I was in high school,” Moran said. “I feel like it is my duty to share that love with my kids at ACGC and provide them with quality opportunities and memories that will last a lifetime.”