SVHS-151Senior Kiana Resch loves playing the role of the Wicked Witch of the West in the “Wizard of Oz,” but it’s not as easy as it looks. She has spent months perfecting the witch’s evil laugh, which comes after her famous line, “I’ll get you, my pretty — and your little dog, too!”

Kiana shares the role with Claire Capra ’22, and they both are enjoying bringing to life one of the show’s most iconic characters.

SVHS-167“It’s just super fun to transform yourself into someone else, if only for a little while,” Kiana says. “But she’s not just sassy and mean, she has some funny lines, too.”

Look for all of that fun and energy to come bursting off the stage, as the show opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1. Shows continue at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2 and at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, as well as at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8 and 9, and at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 12.

In all, some 120 students are involved in the cast, with more than 20 working behind the scenes in tech and stage crews, as well as those in the orchestra and another 50 serving as ushers.

SVHS-182Sophomore Sophie Limberakis shares the role of Dorothy with Maggie VanValkenberg ’19, and both auditioned by singing the show’s most memorable song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

“It’s magical,” Sophie says. “I don’t know if I’ll ever land another role as good as this one.”

Senior Will Walberg says he knew he wanted the role of the Cowardly Lion as soon as he auditioned. He now shares the role with Daniel Ornelas ’20.

“It’s his voice I’m trying to capture,” Will says. “I’m great with accents, but I’m trying to be loveable and terrified and brave, all in the same character.”

Will and Daniel wear custom made lion costumes that are so heavy and warm, they will be wearing a vest with ice packs underneath, just to stay cool.

SVHS-101Mrs. Kate Costello, who is directing and producing the show, says she selected the musical for its wide array of wacky characters available to students. Even then, she created new roles to give more students a chance to perform in the show’s big ensemble numbers, including dancing poppies, snowflakes and even ghosts to accommodate more students.

“One of the themes of the story — which applies especially to our young actors — is the importance of recognizing our own inner strengths,” Mrs. Costello says. “I enjoy the irony that none of the characters realize they already possess the qualities for which they are seeking a magical solution. The Scarecrow already is the smartest; the Tinman already is the most loving and tender; the Cowardly Lion already has the courage to lead the rescue.

“Participation in the Saint Viator musical brings out the inner strengths — and hidden talents — in many of our students, and our adults too,” she adds. “We grow stronger and more confident when we work together to create this theater family, not over the rainbow, but right here, on the Joann Calzaretta stage.”