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Archives IHC students stage ‘The Wizard of Oz’

February 22, 2023

By Darcy Fargo

WATERTOWN – North Country residents will have an opportunity to “follow the yellow brick road” with students from Immaculate Heart Central (IHC) as the school stages “The Wizard of Oz.”

The show will run for two performances, March 11 and 12, both at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium.

Tickets are $5 and can be obtained at either the high school or intermediate school offices, or at the door.

IHC teacher Tara Petrillose is directing the show, the second since shows were suspended during the 2019-20 school year due to COVID.

“I wanted to pick a show that was familiar,” said Petrillose. “A familiar show tends to draw more interest from both the students and the community, and we wanted that appeal as we try to re-establish the (drama and musical) program. I think we’ll be doing well-known shows for the next 5 or 6 years, and then we’ll have the program built up to a point where we could still draw a cast and crew and an audience for a show that isn’t as well known.”

Last year, the school staged “Aladdin.” Many of the students who participated in that show returned for “The Wizard of Oz,” and new students were also added to the cast and crew.

“We needed around 50 students,” said Petrillose, noting grades 4 through 12 participate in staging the show. “Some of our cast – maybe 30 to 35 of them – were in Aladdin last year. The returning students now know what to expect, and they can help the new students. And the older students tend to help the younger students.”

Work on the production began with auditions in December. Rehearsals began shortly after.

In those early rehearsals, Petrillose worked with students in smaller groups, focusing on specific skills, songs and scenes.

For the last month or so, students have been gathering as an ensemble cast after school each day to rehearse.

“They’ve worked really hard,” Petrillose said. “And we’ve had lots of help. We’ve had great support for parents, alumni and the community.”

It didn’t seem like work to the students, though.

“I just like the community we develop,” said Magdalena Johnson, 16, who is playing Scarecrow in the show. “And it’s really fun to be on stage and to take on a different character.”

“I decided to do this mostly because it was something I could do with my younger sister,” said Katharina Probst, 18, who is playing Glinda, the good witch. “I’ve really enjoyed the process so far. It’s been fun. It’s really different and fun to have a bunch of little kids – munchkins in the show – dancing around me and singing a song.”

While she’s enjoyed the time with her sister, Probst said participating with family also has its drawbacks.

“She forgets her (script) book a lot,” Probst said, smiling. “Then she wants to use mine.”

Both teens said they don’t get much stage fright. Both have experience participating in IHC’s Speech and Oratorical program.

They noted the audience will also be able to better hear them delivering their lines this year.

“We got new microphones,” said Probst. “Especially the little kids will be easier to hear.”

The teens advised those in and around Watertown to come see the fruits of their labor in the March performances.

“Come see the show,” Johnson said. “I think it’s going to be a good one.”



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