News St. Joseph — 21 March 2013
St. John’s Prep to present ‘Wizard of Oz’ this weekend

by TaLeiza Calloway – news@thenewsleaders.com

As flying monkeys practiced Tuesday (March 18) at the Paramount Theatre in St. Cloud, Br. Paul-Vincent Niebauer, OSB, gave directions about a cue for an upcoming performance of “The Wizard of Oz.” St. John’s Preparatory School is producing the musical, which opens this weekend. Shows are slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 22-23; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 24.

Niebauer, of St. John’s Abbey, has directed about 50 shows but is directing this particular musical for the first time. He said the audience will be pleased. A 50-member cast will perform the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Royal Shakespeare version of the classic. There will be many scenes of familiarity with a few tweaks to some lines. The role of Dorothy is played by Zoe Novak, of St. Joseph, a senior at St. John’s Prep.

“It’s a fabulous show,” Niebauer  said. “You’ll notice we stuck pretty close to the script and certainly the music, but there will be some sassy surprises.”

Dixie Boschee, an English teacher at St. John’s Prep, is the producer of the show. The school has been producing musicals at the Paramount Theatre for many years and 2013 marks the 10th one. It started at the suggestion of a Prep student and grew from there. The school is the only school to produce musicals at the Paramount, she said. The first production was the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

“It’s a really big production,” Boschee said. “We’ve got quite a lot of students involved.”

The musical includes a cast of 50, 17 people working in the orchestra pit and an additional 15 backstage. Sarah Bresnahan, a resident of the St. Joseph area, choreographed the musical. She is a senior at St. John’s Prep. Special effects include flying witches, monkeys and a hot-air balloon. A real dog will play Toto. Magical set illusions will enhance the experience.

The show time is under two hours and will offer something for everyone. Saturday’s performance is dedicated to Al Leighton of Leighton Broadcasting since he is the one who persuaded Niebauer to move shows to the Paramount years ago. Leighton died last spring but his vision has become a tradition.

“It’s a delightful retelling of the story,” Niebauer said. “Even though it’s (considered) a ‘children’s’ story, it really isn’t. We’re all young at heart, I hope.”

The Paramount Theatre is at  913 W. St. Germain St. in St. Cloud. Ticket information is available at paramountarts.org.

 Alyssa Brown (Wicked Witch of the West) demands the ruby slippers from Dorothy and Glinda during a rehearsal of "The Wizard of Oz."

[/media-credit] Alyssa Brown, of Cold Spring (Wicked Witch of the West) demands the ruby slippers from Dorothy and Glinda during a rehearsal of “The Wizard of Oz.”

Zoe Novak (Dorothy) and Skyler Figallo (Scarecrow) are off to see the Wizard of Oz during a rehearsal. The students are part of St. John's Preparatory School's production of the musical that will open at the Paramount Theatre in St. Cloud.

[/media-credit] Zoe Novak (Dorothy) and Skyler Figallo, both of St. Joseph (Scarecrow) are off to see the Wizard of Oz during a rehearsal. The students are part of St. John’s Preparatory School’s production of the musical that opens this weekend at the Paramount Theatre in St. Cloud.

Elizabeth Larson (Glinda) and Zoe Novak (Dorothy, right) discuss witches and munchkins during a rehearsal.

[/media-credit] Elizabeth Larson, (Glinda, left) and Zoe Novak (Dorothy), both of St. Joseph discuss witches and munchkins during a rehearsal.

 

 

Images courtesy of Contributed photo

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TaLeiza Calloway
TaLeiza Calloway

TaLeiza Calloway is a professional journalist in Central Minnesota. Her byline has appeared in the St. Cloud Times and Central Minnesota Women Magazine. The Ohio native moved to Minnesota about four years ago. She joined the St. Joseph Newsleader staff as a reporter in November 2011.

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