April 13, 2006


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Nashua rocks The Wiz
Seniors act out before easing on down the road
By Kristin Brodeur news@hippopress.com

Everyone knows the story of The Wizard of Oz — Dorothy, a young girl from Kansas, is blown away by a tornado, and finds herself in a mysterious land.

What you may not know is that The Wizard of Oz has a younger, hipper brother: The Wiz.

The Wiz, which started its run on Broadway in 1975, was also a major motion picture in 1978 starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Though The Wiz follows the same basic plotline as The Wizard of Oz, it does so from an urban, African-American perspective. Its upbeat, jazzy songs and exciting dance sequences made The Wiz something of a cult classic.

On Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1, Nashua High School North’s class of 2006 tried their hand at the entertaining play. The show, directed and choreographed by Wally Calderon, kept a light and playful atmosphere throughout. Senior Kelly Upshulte (Dorothy) did an admirable job in the lead role. Upshulte, who is in the concert choir and is part of a youth band for her church, led many of the songs with her strong singing voice. Seniors Zachary Brandon (the Scarecrow), Elyse Williams (the Tinman), and Michael Ierardi (the Lion) each brought a special charisma to his role and they had great chemistry together. Senior Niche DaSilva shined in his role as the Wiz himself.

As the Lion, Ierardi provided much of the comic relief, but the play was at its best when all four of its main characters were on the stage together. Many of the school’s best dancers got a chance to show off their talents as the “Yellow Brick Road.” Seniors Tiffany Witcher (Addaperle), Renee Chaput (Glinda), and Danielle Lepine (Evilline) performed well as the witches.

One of the brightest spots of the evening was the orchestra, directed by music teacher Julie Oliver-Babb. The music kept the play fun and was extremely catchy. “Ease on Down the Road,” the play’s main song, was undoubtedly stuck in many a head by the end of the show.

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Wake up to ‘night Mother