My friends, I have just returned from one of the most enjoyable evenings I’ve had in a long time. For those of you that enjoy live plays, and even those of you who usually don’t, Christian Youth Theater is performing the Wizard of Oz currently in the Fort Vancouver High School auditorium.
A well kept secret, if only from me, this group of youths performed a masterful job this evening in their opening performance of the 1939 classic. Christian Youth Theater seems to be a nationwide set of groups that steer youths towards the performing arts and giving them guidance that few today receive.
Tonight’s plays was staged by youths ranging in age from 18 down to what looked like maybe 7 or 8 years old and believe me, these kids do an excellent job. Well-rehearsed and unbelievable voices followed the original classic nearly to a “T.”
The show runs through May 31 with performances at 3 PM and 7 PM on Saturdays and 3 PM on Sundays and next Friday.
The show has a large cast with the lead role of Dorothy played by 17 year-old Kaity Jellison. You just have to hear this young lady sing!
18 year-old Krista Chase, in her last performance with the Christian Youth Theater, does a masterful job as Ms. Gulch and the Wicked Witch.
Casey Pitel, Levi Larson and Alex Low double as Zeke/Cowardly Lion, Hickory/Tin Man and Hunk/Scarecrow. Costumes copy those of the movie and are very well done also.
Janelle Harriman also performs a double role as Aunty Em and Glinda the Good Witch.
Professor Marvel/Wizard was performed by Caleb Adderly and Uncle Henry/Oz Gate Guard was performed by Jeffery Shaffer.
Of course, a cute little dog, Tiki, performed the star role of Toto.
Way too many names to be listed filled out the cast in roles of Munchkin Land Barrister, Mayor, Coroner, City Fathers, Lullaby League, Lollipop Guild, Munchkins, Teachers, Poppies, Crows, Apple Trees, Jitterbugs, Winkies, Monkey’s and the Ozians.
My apologies for not being able to list every name, but each and every child danced and sang with a talent not often seen in such a large and diverse group.
As a Dad and Granddad, I was particularly impressed to see a little girl, who had obviously injured her leg, amongst the dancers and singers on her crutches decorated with flowers and worked into the script.
A quick perusal of the program shows wide support from Clark County businesses in putting on these plays.
Few seats in Fort Vancouver High School’s auditorium were empty telling me quite a few Clark County residents are aware of this very worthy group.
They deserve even more.
Tickets are available online in advance or at the door.
My friends do yourselves a huge favor and spend an enjoyable evening with these talented youths. If you cannot make the Wizard of Oz, follow their schedule and attend another play they put on soon.
I know I will.