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Colerain High School's THE WIZARD OF OZ

Review by Miriam Shrivastava, Mason High School Critic Team

We're off the see the wizard, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (at Colerain High School).

The Wizard of Oz is a classic tale following Dorothy Gale as she is transported from her small Kansas town to a world of talking scarecrows, flying monkeys, good witches, and bad witches. She looks to find her way back home by finding a wizard in the great city of Oz--but confronts plenty of obstacles during her journey and meets plenty of other interesting characters.

Kelly Greivenkamp, playing Dorothy Gale, was incredibly expressive and darned the most sincere smile, even while handling the use of a real dog (Kady Yosafat) in the production. Greivenkamp effectively navigated keeping the dog safe whilst not distracting from the story. Braven Jones, playing the scarecrow, was incredibly interesting to watch. His rubbery movements suggested the unreal. He and the lion, played by Elijah Smith, magically "defied gravity" by utilizing tons of upwards space. They both were unafraid to jump and fall, adding iconic moments to many scenes. Smith went even further, jumping off of his story-telling box onto the floor. Smith had a wonderful stage presence and employed his physicality to show the tension between bravery and fear.

Notably, Ethan Stoelt as Professor Marvel/Wizard of Oz incorporated extra layers of humor with his deliberate tempos and well-understood use of timing. Despite difficulties with microphones, Matti Yosafat who played the Wicked Witch did an excellent job with her enunciation and projection--making her lines well-understood by the audience. Yosafat worked incredibly professionally, even cleverly improvising a joke to distract from some technical difficulties. Another standout was Hana Busken. Despite not being showcased outside of an ensemble role, Busken's confidence and presence set her apart and made her a memorable part of the production.

Although visible set changes could've been difficult at times, the crew creativity incorporated this system into their transitions (such as how the crew rolled pieces around the stage during the twister). Set crew (led by Catherine Coleman, Adriana Mayfield, and Sujata Dhungel) did a wonderful job adding their spin to the land of Oz--creating colorful mushroom houses, suggesting a more psychedelic twist on the dreamscape. The spooky trees were especially beautiful with their precise cuts and clean paint job. Makeup and Hair, led by Stephanie Feeley, La'Mika Penn, Ariah Smith, and Francis Camarca, worked well in cleanly transitioning between full-green and full-silver faces to traditionally based paint for the Wicked Witch and the Tin Man.

Overall Colerain's unique and creative additions to the classic tale took the audience "Somewhere Over the (Cole)rainbow".

Review By Sophia Rooksberry, Walnut Hills High School Critic Team

Jitterbugs and Munchkins and Winkies, oh my! These lively ensembles and many other beloved characters awaited audiences in Colerain High School's rendition of L. Frank Baum's timeless tale, The Wizard of Oz.

One of the most prominent stories in dramatic history, The Wizard of Oz contrasts two wildly different worlds through the eyes of the slightly dispirited, yet optimistic, Dorothy Gale. When a tornado whisks Dorothy away from her gloomy life in Kansas to the dazzling and eccentric world of Oz, Dorothy must embark on a riveting journey to find the infamous Wizard of Oz who she hopes will grant her a way home. While traveling the yellow brick road, Dorothy befriends a scarecrow with no brains, a tinman with no heart, and a lion with no courage, all three of whom join the ruby-slippered protagonist in hopes of rectifying their own shortcomings.

With its decades of tradition, The Wizard of Oz cannot be accomplished without surmounting some challenges. By handling such struggles with poise and expertise, Colerain High School crafted a memorable performance, chock-full of laughter, nostalgia, and silliness.

In the leading role of Dorothy, Kelly Greivenkamp embodied everything the character should be, and more. From her enrapturing performance of the quintessential "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" to her terrified plea to Oz, Greivenkamp gave a consistently engaging and heartwarming performance. Greivenkamp was wonderfully supported by Braven Jones, Karli Smith, and Elijah Smith. Jones uniquely embraced the slapstick comedy of the Scarecrow. As the Tinman, Karli Smith gave one of the most touching and genuine performances of the show. Elijah Smith provided the show's primary source of laughter as the Cowardly Lion. Smith's dialect and mannerisms never faltered, exemplifying his dedication to the role.

Another time-honored role came in the form of the Wicked Witch of the West, portrayed by Matti Yosafat. Her piercing laughter and wicked delivery inspired fear. As the main antagonist of the show, Yosafat handled the responsibility with grace, eloquence, and a devilish amount of wit.

One of the biggest technical obstacles in The Wizard of Oz is the devastating twister at the beginning of the first act. By utilizing a swift deck crew and ingenious design, the set crew at Colerain High School not only did a remarkable job of differentiating Kansas and Oz, but of creating the vessel in which the change is made. Additionally, the costume crew did a wonderful job staying true to the beloved Ozian costumes, while adding their own touch to the ensembles.

Toeing the line between dream and reality, Colerain High School's performance of The Wizard of Oz was inspired, provocative, and certainly a worthwhile trip over the rainbow.

Review By Owen Cummings, Walnut Hills High School Critic Team

With a click of the heels, a roaring twister, and a little bit of courage, Colerain High School took audiences on a tour of the merry old land of Oz in L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz.

Serving as the viewer's guide through Baum's colorful world, Kelly Greivenkamp played a relatable and compassionate Dorothy, but her stage presence was anything but "small and meek," as her character would say. Greivenkamp's rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," by composers Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg, was sung with genuine tension and longing, showing just how much Dorothy wanted to escape to some place far away.

Once she finally made it to Oz, Dorothy encountered an array of expertly costumed characters. Designed by Celeste Robertson, Francis Camarca, Cadence Mitchell, and Becca Woods; each one of these costumes contrasted greatly with the beige-tinted Kansas, as nearly every piece of fabric was brightly colored or ornately designed to stand out.

The costumes weren't the only things to catch the viewer's eye. The performances by the actors were as dynamic and entertaining as the outfits that adorned them. Leading the pack of Oz inhabitants were Sydney Pool as Glinda, Matti Yosafat as the Wicked Witch, and Ethan Stoelt as the Wizard of Oz; all of whom owned every moment they were onstage, even despite a few technical hiccups along the way.

Other notable performances were Elijah Smith's show-stopping delivery as the Cowardly Lion, as well as ensemble member Hana Busken, who's presence as a dancer during "The Jitterbug"lit up the stage against a dark, forest backdrop.

Colerain High School pulled off an incredibly beloved musical in a very engaging and cheerful way, with some incredible energy from the cast, hard work from the crew, and with enough brains and heart overall to make the audience imagine their own time in a land like Oz.

Excerpts From Other Top Reviews

"Kelly Greivenkamp took on the iconic character of Dorothy, and she brought the role to another level, building her character from a wishful child to an empowered and family-loving young woman. Her rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was beautiful and memorable for everyone. In contrast, Matti Yosafat's Wicked Witch of the West was perfectly evil yet fun to watch."

-Anna Grace Hull, Ursuline Academy Critic Team

"Another notable named role was the Wicked Witch (Matti Yosafat). Her comedic timing was impeccable and she was able to recover from a slip quite cleverly by blaming her minions for not fixing floorboards."

-Kaitlyn Naylor, Loveland High School Critic Team

"One challenge of producing The Wizard of Oz is the amount of set pieces necessary to immerse the audience into Oz. Colerain High School's set building team and set crew took on this challenge by finding creative solutions to set-piece storage and were also responsible for timely set changes. The time it took to retrieve set pieces from backstage storage was cleverly filled with ensemble actors such as crows and Winkies marching or engaging in dialogue to turn the attention away from scene changes."

-Amy Laufersweiler, Loveland High School Critic Team

"Sydney Pool who portrayed Aunt Em and Glinda was glistening on stage. She flawlessly floated onto the stage leaving a trail of bubbles. Pool amazed the audience with her ability to reach and hold difficult notes. Elijah Smith, who played The Cowardly Lion, embraced the clumsy and cuddly role, captivating the audience with his comical bits. The role of the Wicked Witch was a crowd favorite. Matti Yosafat was terrifying and terrific, and displayed near perfect comedic timing. Of course one does have to mention Kady Yosafat, who was the cutest dog to ever play Toto. She definitely got a few chuckles in scenes when she was pushed onto the stage to make her debut."

-Rachel Bohl, Mariemont High School Critic Team

"Some of the best parts of the show were the technical aspects, specifically, the impressive, detailed and beautiful costumes. The costumes crew, headed by Celeste Roberson, Francis Camarca, Cadence Mitchell, and Becca Woods; did an amazing job finding costumes that fit the characters perfectly. From Dorothy's iconic blue dress and ruby slippers to the witch's classic socks to Glinda's stunning pink ballgown, the costumes in this production were truly magical."

-Berkley Dixon, Ursuline Academy Critic Team

"The first friend that Dorothy meets on her journey is the Scarecrow, played by Braven Jones. Jones' performance was always visually entertaining. His physical acting suggested great elasticity that was truly spectacular."

-James Hendricks, Mason High School Critic Team

"Although only comprised of nine students, the ensemble of this production were able to carry much of the overall energy and fun of the production. Every member of this group carried their weight on stage and were an excellent addition to this amazing show. One ensemble member, Hana Busken, was a stand out performer who danced her heart out in every number and was able to keep a smile on her face throughout the whole performance."

-Sophie Christian, Walnut Hills High School Critic Team

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