• LAST DAY OF SCHOOL Friday, May 24
  • GRADUATION May 26, 7:30 @Ford Stadium
The News Source of Plano East Senior High School

Panther Prints

The News Source of Plano East Senior High School

Panther Prints

The News Source of Plano East Senior High School

Panther Prints

‘Wizard of Oz’ Musical: An Enchanting Reproduction


As the lights in the auditorium go down, everyone goes silent, as a single spotlight redirects their attention, surprisingly, to the back of the room. Suddenly, Dorothy, played by junior Gina Phan, unexpectedly emerges. She makes her entrance frantically searching for her dog, Toto, played by senior Aziz Mutabanna, in the audience. Mutabanna played Toto by holding two sticks attached to a tattered dog puppet, while he used his face to translate Toto’s emotions. He continued this throughout the show, cleverly mixing movement and emotion to sophisticatedly play his role. 

The school theater’s “The Wizard of Oz” musical was a wonderfully classic, lighthearted retelling of the timeless story. The cast and crew members successfully created a masterful show that displayed their talent and hard work.

For her first lead role at this school, junior Gina Phan rose above all expectations, delivering a true-to-character, youthful rendition of Dorothy. In particular, Phan’s take on “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was one of the best moments in the entire show. Her bright, smooth, powerful voice and her expressive face clearly communicated the emotions of hope and despair her character felt in that moment. As she stood in front of her home in rural Kansas singing about dreaming of a better place for herself and Toto, Phan movingly conveyed that kind of longing to the audience.

The lighting crew also did a spectacular job recreating the infamous twister. As the storm progressed, the lights in the auditorium turned off, while white spinning lights were projected around the room. The dizzying lighting effects allowed the audience to feel like they were being blown away by the twister too, while cardboard cutouts of objects including boats humorously and creatively portrayed Dorothy and Toto’s journey.

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As the first musical sequence with the entire crew of Munchkins took place, the stage radiated with joy from the jolly song and dance sequence about the death of the Wicked Witch of the East. Senior Krrish Parekh stunned in his role as the Wicked Witch of the West, making his first appearance with an unexpected, loud blast of green smoke, eliciting a scream from the audience. His sassy take on the role introduced a significant element of humor, which audience members felt throughout the show. Parekh’s connection with his character shone through with every word he spoke, which made the audience look forward to his scenes throughout the show.

Later, as Dorothy continued on her journey to find the Wizard of Oz, she met the Scarecrow, Tinman, and the Lion, who each kept their distinct, well-known personalities but with an exaggerated, humorous display. In particular, Senior Isha Kurlekar’s role as the Scarecrow lit up the show as she made her entrance with “If I Only Had a Brain,” belting to the jazzy tune and committing to the clumsy character with leaps, cartwheels, and of course, lots of falling. Kurlekar had an unexplainable way of catching everyone’s attention in the audience, and her earnestness, as an actor, made many in the audience wish she had an even greater role in the show. 

The second act, which primarily took place in the Wicked Witch’s castle and the Emerald City had a substantially darker aura to it, with intriguing cast performances of songs including “Jitterbug,” which encapsulated Dorothy’s fear of the Haunting Forest. The song was unlike any other moment in the musical, building thrill and suspense with the unique costumes. The cast wore all dark clothes with little neon spirals on them, glow-in-the-dark gloves, and ghoulish makeup, with harsh black contour bringing sharpness to their facial features. When Dorothy and her crew finally meet the Wizard of Oz, played by senior Aaron Flores, who ironically turns out to be an average guy parading behind a giant bronze mask, everyone can finally obtain what they truly desire. 

After the Wizard instills knowledge, a heart and courage in the Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion, respectively, Dorothy’s bittersweet goodbyes to her companions in Oz come around. Her farewell to Oz is exactly the resolution everyone expected. Nonetheless, it was a proper way to end her journey, bringing her back to her family in Kansas after realizing the power to return home has always been inside of her.

The musical was a lovely performance and retelling of the wildly successful original story, and while the modern stylistic choices were enjoyable, it lacked its own unique element as it too strictly adhered to the predictable storyline. Overall, the themes of friendship, home and belonging were a satisfyingly profound component in the production, but a little unexpected variation in the plot to keep the audience on their toes would have taken it to the next level.

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