WIZ

By Henry C. Mayer

Did you make it your "biz" to see "The Wiz"? lf you didn't, by golly you missed a sparkling evening of entertainment and some of the best young talent around here!

One, two, three, four — yes, four — overflow crowds did just that on four nights on the Ursuline Campus! Their ears thrilled to its foot-stomping music; they oohed and aahed at its eye-catching homemade costumes and breathtaking sets; they showered appreciation for the talented cast and the equally gifted unseen backstage persons as well as the gifted orchestra players who donated their services!

Last spring, Louisville Music News reveled in the innovative and unique theatrical know-how of the recently employed director of the Ursuline School of Music and Drama, Anna Jo Paul. Her production and direction of "My Fair Lady" had all the skill of a hole in one. But they say a champion is never a champion until he or she repeats.

Well, working with her own students and youngsters from other local high schools including Sacred Heart Academy, her staging of "The Wiz" equalled and possibly topped last year's presentation.

But honestly, it's simply impossible and unfair for me to rank the performers and other participants in any order of excellence. "The Wiz" is the fifth distinct version of L. Frank Baum's heartwarming story for the young-in-heart of all ages, "The Wizard of Oz."

Almost anyone can see and applaud what is on the stage — and we should do so. But an unbelievable amount of work goes on behind the stage. Here are some examples:

• It took eight hours to make each of the six poppies' headdress;

• Six weeks were necessary to make the headdresses for the Tornado, Witches, Mice, Emerald City People, Monkeys and The Wiz. They were custom made to fit each head; they were then dried and decorated with clear plastic foam board paper bags and garbage bags and required no less than 12 large containers of Elmer's Glue.

• Jim Kelley worked many nights till 2 a. m. to complete sets and costumes.

• Mrs. Harris made five trips to one store to get the correct cord for one microphone.

• Dorothy's dog, a real live barking canine, took part in 10 rehearsals to get his part "right." (LMN writer's note: We name him Dog of the Year; Walt Disney Studios, please note!!)

Also a big thank you to Kate Albers and Bonnie Koontz for these tidbits!

Here's the cast of principals; bravos for each and every one: Lindsey Mattingly, Dorothy; Erin Mattingly, Tin Man (they're sisters); Tommie Robinson, Scarecrow; Larry Fisher, The Lion; John Whitaker, The Wiz; Catherine Conway, Glinda; Brooke Paul, Addaperle; Julie Riehm, Evillene; Jason Mueei, Winged Monkey.

Jim Kelley, Sets and Costume Design; Amy Delaney, Choreography; Myra Jo Walker, Director of Orchestra; Martha Harris, Vocal Director; Trish Williford, Makeup; Parents, Costumes; plus 150 other great people in various but indispensable roles!

There's more to come; if you want anouncements, just call 897-1816 (9 a. m. to 6 p. m.) and ask to be on the mailing list.