Liberty christens new theater with ‘The Wizard of Oz’
April 23, 2013
By Christina Corrales-Toy
Seattle’s lush greenery may lend itself to its Emerald City nickname, but fans of Dorothy, and her little dog too, know that the true Emerald City is a magnificent metropolis inhabited by a powerful wizard, situated at the end of a yellow brick road.
Audiences young and old are invited to take that long, winding journey from Kansas to Oz with the Liberty High School Patriot Players, as they break in the school’s new theater with a musical performance of “The Wizard of Oz.”
“I think everyone is super, super excited for this,” said Liberty junior Maddy Daly, who plays Dorothy. “‘The Wizard of Oz’ is an iconic show and we’re going to debut our new performing arts center. It can’t get any better than that.”
The Patriot Players will bring to life the classic story of Dorothy and her ragtag group of friends’ quest to visit the wizard, while plagued by the Wicked Witch of the West at nearly every turn.
The production is the largest the school has ever put together, with more than a dozen scenic sets and 1,000 costume pieces to accommodate a cast of about 50 performers.
“It’s a little bit hectic, but it’s an organized chaos,” said Liberty junior, and stage manager, Katie Simmons. “It’s amazing to be working in such a new place, and to be the first people to really use it and show it to everyone. It’s fun and it’s sort of difficult, but it’s interesting to figure it all out.”
Among the 50 performers are about a dozen students from Newcastle and Briarwood elementary schools, selected to play everything from munchkins to flying monkeys.
“They’re really fun to work with,” said Liberty senior Taylor Schadt, who plays the Cowardly Lion. “I was expecting very crazy, rambunctious kids, but no, they are so on point.”
Performing such a well-known show, the Liberty students hope their production can offer audiences something a little different, while remaining true to the story.
“There are a couple of characters and a few scene things that are, I think, fairly different and personally, I really love them,” Daly said. “I just hope that we can keep the same story, but make it our own.”
More than anything, the students want to send theatergoers home with a smile on their face, confident in the fact that there really is “no place like home,” said Sedrik Spradling-Reim, a Liberty junior who plays the Scarecrow.
“We want everyone to experience that sense of nostalgia and that childlike wonderment, allowing them to escape from the world for a night,” he said.
In the days prior to opening night, the entire cast and crew were scrambling to get adjusted to the new theater, understanding its capabilities and discovering the intricacies of performing in a bigger, safer space.
Despite the frenzied atmosphere, the new facilities were just what the school’s growing drama department needed, said Katherine Klekas, the drama program’s longtime director.
“It means that the district values Liberty and values the performing arts, and both of those things, sometimes people didn’t feel like that was the case,” she said.
If you go
‘The Wizard of Oz’
- 2:30 p.m. May 4
- 7:30 p.m. April 26, 27, May 2, 3 and 4
- Liberty High School Performing Arts Center
- 16655 S.E. 136th St., Renton
- Tickets can be purchase at the door: Adults are $12; seniors/children younger than 12/students with Liberty Associated Student Body cards are $10.
Name the theater
A Liberty High School committee has been formed to help name the brand new theater in the performing arts center. The committee is seeking feedback from the Liberty community and asks that people email suggestions, along with specific details as to why the name is relevant to the school, to Kathy Schroeder at email@example.com by May 7.