FOLLOWING on from the success of the 2019 production Barnum, Newhaven College has yet again produced a magical, uplifting and entertaining show in the Wizard of Oz.
After months of rehearsals at school, the production team took to the stage at the Wonthaggi Arts Centre last Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The show was a huge success with sold-out performances. Shontelle O’Connor (year 12) took on the lead role of Dorothy Gale. Shontelle has appeared in many local and school productions, ‘Evita’, ‘Hairspray’, ‘Annie’ and ‘Les Miserables’, and ‘Barnum’ and ‘Guys and Dolls’, respectively. However, this was her first time playing a lead role.
Helena Leonardos (year 12) was the scarecrow. Helena has appeared in Newhaven College’s productions of ‘Guys and Dolls’ and ‘Barnum’. From year 5 through to year 8, Helena also performed with the Young Australian Broadway Chorus.
Lucas White (year 10) was the tin man. Lucas is an active member in local and school productions. He was a part of the ensemble in Wonthaggi Theatrical Group’s performances of ‘The Boy from Oz’ and ‘Les Miserables’. He also performed in the school’s production of ‘Barnum’.
Lucien Savage (year 10) was the cowardly lion. Lucien played a student in the local production of ‘Les Miserables’ and he scored a lead role in a short film that made it into the top 10 best Australian shorts in the 2020 Flickerfest. Further, Lucien also performed in Newhaven College’s 2019 production, ‘Barnum’.
Meg Bate (year 12) was Aunt Em. Not only has Meg performed as a missionary in the ensemble of Newhaven College’s ‘Guys and Dolls’, she is also a part of the school’s Drama Club, concert band and orchestra.
Bianca Lyle (year 12) was Glinda. Bianca has been a part of the theatre and drama program at Newhaven College since year 5. She was a member of the cast in ‘Barnum’ and assisted in ‘Guys and Dolls’ and ‘Into the Woods’.
Laura Vivian (year 11) was the Wicked Witch of the East. Laura has performed in local productions, ‘Annie’ (the role of Pepper) and ‘Young Frankenstein’, and also the Newhaven College production, ‘Barnum’.
Michael Furniss (year 11) was the Wizard of Oz. Michael came to this role from Newhaven College’s Drama Club with exuberance, eccentricity and jolliness.
Michael loves theatre – watching it and performing it – and feels in his element when on stage.
They were joined by Toto (a real dog named Bella) and an outstanding cast of curious munchkins, flying monkeys, dancing jitterbugs, cornfield crows, winkies, swaying poppies and even a group of singing trees.
“I would like to congratulate head of drama and theatre, Lauren White and her extremely committed team of staff and students for making the production possible,” principal Tony Corr said.
“Our musical team’s passion and determination to put on a first-rate show has been extraordinary. As a school we are very grateful for their efforts over and above what is expected.”
Lauren White said the rehearsal process had not been smooth sailing, but “we never gave up and we are all thrilled to be back on stage”.
“I’d like to give a special thanks to all the cast members for their willingness to tackle and overcome all the obstacles placed in front of them.
“The Wizard of Oz demonstrates the enormous amount of talent that we have at Newhaven College. The students have worked incredibly hard to bring a show that we are all very proud of.”
She also thanked family members, friends, parents and fellow staff members for their support.
Special thanks to Robyn Rumbelow, Jo O’Connor and Miriam Robinson – the heart behind the fabulous costumes; Emily Carlson – a Newhaven College alumni who volunteered her time to choreograph all the dances and congratulations to the new director of music, Matthew Goss and the college orchestra for their magical performance.