The Liberty County High School drama club will be in the running for Georgia high school musical theater’s version of Broadway’s Tony awards, the Shuler Hensley Awards, when the cast and crew present the musical “The Wizard of Oz” this weekend.
Shows will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, March 7, and Saturday, March 8, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 9, in the LCHS cafeteria. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for students with student ID. To buy tickets online, go to eventbrite.com/e/the-wizard-of-oz-tickets-10516568339.
Shuler Hensley Award program judges will see the play and assess all aspects of the production, including leading actors’ performances, set and costume design, music direction, technical execution, overall production and choreography. Should the school’s drama club win an award, they could attend the Shuler Hensley Awards red-carpet event April 17, at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta. The awards show is televised, and several winning schools are chosen to perform scenes from their musicals.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for our kids,” LCHS drama club coach Mike Collins said. He said the Shuler awards program provides consultation services to winning high schools, and offers workshops and scholarships to students who want to major in theater.
“The objective of the Shuler Awards program is to create visibility for high school theater programs and generate an event that builds community while celebrating excellent work by teachers and students,” according to shulerawards.org.
The judges will decide whether the LCHS musical meets or exceeds its potential, given its available resources, according to the website.
“We compete against ourselves,” Collins said.
According to the drama coach, the cast and crew of more than 60 includes high-, middle- and elementary-school students and several children who are homeschooled. “The Wizard of Oz” is a community-wide effort, he said. Lyman Hall Elementary School students portray munchkins, 12 LCHS band members will provide live musical accompaniment in the “pit,” and 30 of the high school’s chorus members also are in the play, Collins said.
The primary cast includes Charlotte Norsworthy as Dorothy, Brandon Pack as the Scarecrow, Alec Wimmer as the Tin Man, Timothy Wainwright Jr. as the Cowardly Lion, and CoShawn Egan as the Wicked Witch. Egan also doubles as the production’s student director. Cylene Carter plays Glinda, the good witch of the north, and LeMarcus Baugh is the wizard. Snelson-Golden Middle School student Tillman Norsworthy plays the mayor of Munchkin Land, and Gracie Byler has a speaking role as a leading munchkin citizen.
Collins said Egan, a senior, recently announced he has been accepted into the fine-arts program at New York University. LCHS senior Amanda Austin, production manager for the musical, was accepted to the Savannah College of Art and Design, the drama coach added. Collins said she plans to study the business side of theater.