Glinda the Good Witch (Rebekah Spring-Gimson)

We’re off to see the wizard …

Lines are memorized and now it’s just about putting it all together as rehearsals continue at Timberline

Lions and tigers and bears.

Those are just a handful of creatures you can spot at Timberline Secondary School these days.

If you’re lucky, you may also spy a scarecrow, a witch and a tin man.

As Timberline music theatre students prepare to present their annual musical – this year it’s The Wizard of Oz – rehearsal are ramping up.

The students are guided by the high school’s musical director, Celine Ouellette, and drama instructor, Jana MacFarlane.

It’s the pair’s third musical collaboration and the school’s 20th consecutive musical since the school opened its doors in 1998.

MacFarlane said legendary The Wizard of Oz was chosen as this year’s production because it’s a timeless classic.

“We did Putnam last year and it’s not a very well-known show,” MacFarlane says. “So I wanted one this year that the kids would recognize and that the public would recognize. We also wanted a show where we could cross-cast, and not necessarily have to be confined to male and female specific roles. Our scarecrow is a female.”

She says The Wizard of Oz, because of its many roles, also allows the program to “showcase a lot of talent” as opposed to just two or three lead roles.

The production’s 18-member chorus provides for even more opportunities for the students, particularly for those who weren’t comfortable in auditioning for an acting role.

“If they didn’t want to stand in front of everyone or they didn’t want to stand up by themselves, they could be part of the chorus,” Ouellette says. “It was a way to get more kids in the show. To get those kids who didn’t want to sing by themselves. It was a bit more welcoming.”

In addition to the actors and the singers, the show features Timberline students on lights and sound.

And then there’s the costumes. Ouellete spent the first couple of months of the school year sewing 50 to 60 costumes for the chorus and a few were made by Timberline students in the stage craft program. The production also got some help in the costume department from Carihi, Raincoast Performing Arts and Highlands secondary in the Comox Valley.

Ouellette says the production, which is close to the movie version of The Wizard of Oz, is a work in progress but the students are close.

“It’s getting there, we’re finally seeing progress,” Ouellette says.

Lines are, for the most part, memorized and now it’s just about putting it all together as rehearsals, which have been ongoing since last October, take place at least three times a week after school.

“The last month is when the magic always happens and now the performance aspect is really coming into play,” MacFarlane says.

The Wizard of Oz premieres on March 3 with additional shows March 4, 9, 10 and 11 starting at 7 p.m. each night in the Timberline theatre. Tickets are $12 for students and seniors and $15 for adults.

Tickets are available at the Timberline office, either in person or by calling 250-923-9500, or online at www.sd72.bc.ca/school/timberline

The school is also looking for business sponsorships and is encouraging anyone who would like to get involved to contact Celine Ouellette by phone at, 250-923-9500 Ext. 2589 or e-mail, celine.ouellette@sd72.bc.ca

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