By Jennifer Von Ohlen
DASSEL, COKATO, MN A yellow brick road, a pair of red slippers, and a wicked witch? Dassel-Cokato High School is bringing the classic tale of “The Wizard of Oz” to life in this year’s fall musical.
Performances will take place Friday, Nov. 18 and Saturday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. in the performing arts center.
The musical was selected by director James Moen, who was drawn to the family-friendly nature of the show, as well as the show’s level of difficulty.
“We have lots of new faces [in] the theater program [this year], and many have little to no stage experience,” stated Moen. “This is a great ‘problem’ to have, as the program is expanding, which we want.”
More than 50 students are involved with the show, with more continually asking how they can become a part of the production.
While “The Wizard of Oz” is not as vocally difficult as some other musicals, Moen expressed that from the pit and tech standpoint, it is “very challenging.”
The show also demands “intricate” set pieces, including a tornado, the Great Oz, and a rotating house.
“We have an amazing crew that works on the show,” Moen said, “and Stephen Hansen (tech director), Brian Veith (pit director), Nate Raabe (vocal director), Deb Moen (costumer), Dan Kyllonen (head set designer), and Jean Veith (lead artist) do an incredible job. Without them, this wouldn’t be possible.”
Even though many audience members will likely be familiar with the show through its iconic 1939 movie adaptation starring Judy Garland, Moen said there are some variations between it and the stage version, including a score throughout the show and some differences in musical numbers.
“Of course, I have put my own twists on the show, as well,” added Moen. “However, you’ll have to come see the show to find out what they are.”
As audiences members take their seats and the pit orchestra begins its overture, Moen hopes the show will “conjure up a bit of nostalgia” as the familiar characters enter the stage.
“I mean, you can’t help but smile when you hear the iconic ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow,’” Moen commented.
Tickets are on sale in the activities office (320) 286-4100, ext. 1811 or 1813. They will also be available at the door one hour before each performance.
Adults tickets are $6, youth $4. It is general admission seating.