Making magical memories along the yellow brick road


The OLTD cast, crew, and pit had an amazing performance

Sarah Driscoll, Staff writer

On November 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, the OLCHS Theatre Department invited everyone to leave Kansas and take a trip down the yellow brick road from Munchkinland to the Emerald City with Dorothy (Grace Pagliaro) and Toto. Along the journey, new friends were made including Glinda (Molly Murphy), Scarecrow (Marco Hernandez), the Tin Man (Matt McDonald), the Lion (Tomas Walsh), and the great Oz himself (Daniel McLawhorn). Enemies were conquered and everyone triumphed against the Wicked Witch of the West, her Winkies, and Nikko. With the help of Glinda and the red ruby slippers, Dorothy and Toto made it back to Kansas! One of the most popular cast members this year was Winnie who played Toto. Her owner is Ms. Lauren Montesano who is an Oak Lawn Theatre Alum and is currently a Speech Coach. For those of you wondering how he was chosen, Mr. Pastiak, the director, said, “I knew I wanted a smaller dog for the production, so I asked early on in the process if there was someone who would be willing to commit the time and energy necessary for the rehearsal process. Since Ms. Montesano still lives in the area, already works with us at school, is familiar with our theatre program, and was willing to work with us, Winnie was the perfect choice!”

 When asked what it was like to have Winnie be a part of the musical, Mr. Pastiak responded, “In a musical, there are so many components that need to fit together: acting, dancing, music, lighting, sound, set pieces, etc., it can all be very complex! Adding a live animal to the mix is an added challenge. However, incorporating Winnie early on in the rehearsal process allowed her to become familiar with our stage, the actors she would work with, and even her blocking (movements) during the performance. In order to prevent Winnie from getting overwhelmed, we needed to have a strict rule that no cast member could touch Winnie if they weren’t supposed to for the performance. Even still, having her around as we rehearsed made the experience a whole lot more fun (and cute!).” When asked what it was like being a director and what he enjoyed about the experience, he said, “I love theatre, because there is a special kind of excitement and magic to a live performance. I try to choose shows that will challenge different parts of our theatre programs. Last year, we had the challenge of learning a new space with our Performing Arts Center and had a very dance-heavy show with CHICAGO. This year, I chose a very technically-heavy show that required us to capitalize on the capabilities of our PAC. For this production, I am most proud of the fact that, from the moment I gave the cue to start, students ran the show. Not only were students leading on stage as actors, we had students coordinating the crew backstage as stage managers, students on the lighting and sound boards, students moving set pieces with our fly system, students working on hair and makeup, and more! It is truly amazing to be able to let go of the reigns and allow these capable students to run the show. I couldn’t be prouder of their hard work and effort.” Cylia Srmek, a cast member, said, “I thought it was fun to have all these different components coming together to make the final product. Everyone was familiar with the music so it was fun to sing and it was fun watching everyone develop their parts in the show. The positive energy from everyone in the musical made it fun!” Kevin Zwiesler, another cast member, said, “It was really fun! I was able to make a lot of new friends that I get to see in the hallway that I say hi to everyday. It was a good bonding experience and a really nice show.”

Kevin Zwiesler, another cast member felt that the show was very fun because he was able to make a lot of new friends. Olha Huska, a cast and crew member said, “You make a lot of close bonds while working in the musical because everyone’s trying to make the show great! It was a lot of work, but it was a great experience!” Ariel Bedolla, a freshman in pit thought that it was a great experience because not only was everyone very funny and friendly, she also was able to meet many professional players. The inside jokes made practices very memorable and she would definitely do it again. OLCHS is very fortunate to have such an amazing theatre program, director, and Performing Arts Center. The show was phenomenal and the performance was an event no one will ever forget.