A Scathing Review of Maplewood Elementary School's Production of "The Wizard of Oz"
“The Wizard of Oz” will always hold a special place in my heart as a beautiful tale of a young girl who finds power in herself as she tries to return to Kansas, but Maple Elementary School’s dishonest joke of a production has seriously made me fear for the direction of American theatre. The leads had no business carrying a show, the set was atrocious, and the ensemble was so disconnected, you could have driven a truck through it. I had extremely high hopes for this production, and the entire cast and creative team let me down.
If there is one thing I hope to get out of this article, it is casting director/4th grade teacher Megan Andrews’ head on a platter. Dorothy is supposed to be a kind-hearted, adventurous, yet naïve girl, but 5th Grader Emily Tompkins,played her off as just another bougey child on her way to the playground. The Scarecrow’s (played by Max Jacobson) performance of “If I Only Had a Brian” had me wondering, “If You Only Had a Dash of Talent.” The only performer with whom I did not take issue was the pair of wooden legs that played The Wicked Witch of the East. Brava legs. Brava.
The set was either designed by art teacher, Jack Gordon, or by a team of aggressively untalented, blind preschoolers. It’s tough to watch the characters sing the praises of Oz when all I’m looking at is a large green sheet of cardboard with stream of piss, claiming to be the yellow brick road, running through it.
The lack of connection within the ensemble of “The Wizard of Oz” led to several different plays happening in the background at the same time. Some included: “Flying Monkey Waves to Mother in Crowd,” “Munchkin eats own booger,” “Munchkin eats friend’s booger,” “Auntie Em sends a Snapchat,” and my personal favorite “Wizard of Oz Pees, Cries, and Runs Off Stage Ending the Show Prematurely.”
To call this play a travesty would be the understatement of the century. My biggest piece of advice to the “artists” at Maple Elementary School: try acting next time.