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“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” makes you feel like you’re not in Naperville anymore

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A classic tale comes to life with bright colors in Naperville North’s auditorium when “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and its student directors happily step into the spotlight.

Based on the 1939 movie, minus the music, the play follows the adventures of an innocent farm girl named Dorothy (Cora Stewart), who is whisked out of her home in Kansas and ends up in the land of Oz. Dorothy’s journey takes her through yellow brick roads, encounters with munchkins, walks through an emerald city, and creepy castles, all with the help of a Scarecrow (Charlie Kennedy), Tin Man (Michael Winner), and Lion (Axel Hageman). They must persist to reach the great and powerful Wizard (Ali Burianek), all while trying to run from the Wicked Witch (Ingrid Lowery) and her malicious plans.

The children show’s production, directed by NNHS seniors Nathan Warwick and Lindsay Cernek, is a wonderfully magical experience, complete with sets made by North’s tech crew. Audiences from children to adults watched and enjoyed the real-life land of Oz at NNHS Sept. 8, 9, and 10. It’s easy for the audience to feel like they’re not in Naperville anymore.

Director Nathan Warwick gave his input on how he wanted the audience to feel while watching.

“I love the metaphor of people finding their own yellow brick roads and forging their own paths,” Warwick said. “As for the kids, I hope to see them fall in love with every character just as I have.”

Being directed by the students, I wasn’t sure it would compare to the shows directed by the adult staff at school. But even in the sets, designs and mood lighting, the student-led show was very close in keeping professionalism like past shows.

The transitions between scenes did lack some speed. It would be dark for a bit too long, but the action picked right back up when the lights were on. Once the stage was lit, one could see each set piece that was very creatively made with all types of materials and paint, thanks to the Tech Crew’s time and dedication to making the moving pieces. One of my personal favorite set pieces was the munchkin huts because of their fun Hawaiian colors. They added humor to the scene when the munchkins peeked through the streamers in awe of Dorothy and when terrified of the Witch.

The costumes were true to each person in their colors and style, from Dorothy’s red shoes and braids to the Ozians’ green attire. Every character had their own style, but made a masterpiece of a photo when all together.

The reaction and emotions emoted well from each character in “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” throughout the show. I felt at home with Dorothy and her Aunt Em (Sophie Inglis), I sensed magic with Glinda the Good (Greta Thorne), horror from the evil Wicked Witch of the West, and I couldn’t help but smile when seeing the munchkins bow down to Dorothy and Glinda.

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“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” makes you feel like you’re not in Naperville anymore