By Sue Moore
The Wizard of Oz is a coming of age story, according to Vicksburg High School Drama Director Melissa Sparks. She cites a study in Italy that claims the movie is the most influential film in the world.
And it’s coming to Vicksburg’s Performing Arts Center. “This is a good choice for students to act in, because of our tumultuous world. They can learn that it’s OK to escape into their imagination. It’s a little bit of escapism. These kids love the message in the story.”
The enduring play will be performed on Saturday, March 16 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 17 at 2 p.m. Additional performances are set for Saturday, March 23 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 24 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available online here. They are $5 for students, $10 for seniors and $12 for adults if purchased in advance.
“Sydney Andres was perfect for the lead role of Dorothy,” Sparks said. “She has charm, innocence, a kind and loving personality, much like Dorothy.”
Andres said she practiced really hard for the auditions because playing the part meant so much to her. “It’s my favorite movie of all time. It’s like a dream come true to play Dorothy and perform in this classic. I can do a pretty decent Judy Garland voice, but I’ll try to play it a little bit differently.”
Andres is a known stage quantity herself, having been chosen to act or sing in 12 productions while she has been in high school and middle school. She played Jane opposite Tarzan in the 2018 musical. Besides demanding rehearsals that can go from two to five hours, Andres plays on the Vicksburg lacrosse team, is in choir, plays the alto sax in the marching band, symphonic band and the wind ensemble. She carries a 3.9 GPA and works part-time on weekends dressing up as a princess for special parties in the area. She also works at Gander Outdoors – in her spare time.
“I don’t like being in front of people, it scares me. But when I get on stage it’s not me, I’m just acting and that makes it a lot easier,” she said.
Other major roles in the Wizard production are Jacob Henderson as the Lion; Lindsey Fleck as the scarecrow; Levi Shepard as the Tin Man; Lucas Cannizzaro as Oz and Meaghan Miller as the Wicked Witch. Music director is Dusty Morris, the high school’s choir director. Sets have been designed by Tim Fuller, director of the Performing Arts Center.