‘Most guys don't do a lot of singing, so it's great to be around others that do'
TRURO - Her slippers may be a different colour this time around, but Dorothy is still heading to Oz.
Spotlight Musical Theatre's summer school is diligently working on its production of The Wiz, an adaptation to L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz, which will be held next weekend at the Marigold Cultural Centre.
"Things are going really great," said Henry Lever, a 10-year-old Truro boy who's playing Lord High Underling in the production. "I'm having a lot of fun. The thing I like about it is that most guys don't do a lot of singing, so it's great to be around others that do."
The Motown, funkified version features a whole host of cast members, including Milford Station's Emily Robertson, who plays the role of Dorothy and wears silver slippers. Robertson, 16, is also in the running to play the lead role in a national production of The Wizard of Oz.
For the cast members, having similar interests as everyone else really does help the end production.
"If one person didn't want to be here, everyone else's energy would go down," said Emma MacEachern, 13, who plays Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West.
"We're all eager to work hard and everyone wants to be here."
For both MacEachern and 13-year-old Emily Fultz, being part of the summer school is a chance to see old friends they wouldn't normally see throughout the year, as well as make new ones.
"I met a lot of new friends and last year, we came really close. It's nice to meet people that have the same interests, such as singing and acting," said Fultz, who has numerous roles in the production, including a poppy.
But the production wouldn't be the same without Dorothy's sidekick, Toto, which is one of several roles for 11-year-old Liam Shortt.
"One of my favourite parts is the very last scene because Toto comes out and has a big hug with Dorothy," said the Truro boy.
This is Shortt's second year in the summer school, after joining last year because of his love of singing, acting and dancing.
"Ross (Thompson) gives a lot of good tips for singing and making your voice sound better, so I wanted to come again," he said.
Joining Thompson in the summer production is Kent Loughead, Helen Bell, Ron Lakking and Truro native Jenn Laudadio (nee Priddle).
As the artistic director, Laudadio was excited to be a part of the production because of the crew she was joining.
"It's a bit of a dream team for me," she said, regarding the team she worked with two years ago.
"For me, it was very attractive for me to come back to work with them. It's great to have the opportunity to work with efficient and effective people."
With more than 100 costumes in the show, Laudadio is impressed with the cast of youth that's in the summer program.
"The entire company is incredible. The kids are focused, motivated, on task and excellent at taking direction. They know why they're here and they are committed to getting the job done well."
When it comes to the actors filling roles of main characters, Laudadio said they show an incredible amount of leadership, both on and off the stage.
"The self-direction they have ... they have helped some of the younger cast members and they lead the warm ups and show finesse for certain (dance) moves," she said.
Filling the other main roles include Adam Smith as the Scarecrow, Riley Rankin as the Tin Ma'am and Ben Arnfast at the Lion.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: The Wiz
WHO: Spotlight Musical Theatre summer school
WHEN: July 20 and 21
TIME: 7 p.m. both dates, as well as a 2 p.m. matinee on the 21st
WHERE: Marigold Cultural Centre, Truro
TICKETS: $15 each, available at the Marigold box office (897-4004) or MacQuarries Pharmasave on the Esplanade