From left to right, Megan Peirce, Ava Grimes, Kyra Wood and Johnathan Gee-Miles star in Juneau high school’s collaborative production of the classic “The Wizard of Oz” at JDHS auditorium. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

From left to right, Megan Peirce, Ava Grimes, Kyra Wood and Johnathan Gee-Miles star in Juneau high school’s collaborative production of the classic “The Wizard of Oz” at JDHS auditorium. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Are you off to see the wizard?

Play wraps up run with shows this weekend.

As the saying goes, there’s no place like home and for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé theater director Virginia Roldan, there’s no better place for high school theater than Juneau.

Juneau high school’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” wraps up its second and final week at the high school, with performances running on Thursday, Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday (today for print) at 2 p.m. with the cost of admission running $10 for students and $15 for adults. Roldan said the shows have been well-received and most importantly the kids have been proud of the work they’ve put into what has been largely a hands-on production for the students.

TMHS freshman Megan Peirce joins the case of “The Wizard of Oz” in the iconic role of Dorothy, now playing at the JDHS auditorium until Saturday, May 6. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

TMHS freshman Megan Peirce joins the case of “The Wizard of Oz” in the iconic role of Dorothy, now playing at the JDHS auditorium until Saturday, May 6. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

“We had really good shows, our opening weekend was really good, especially our evening show,” Roland said. “We’ve had really good turnouts and the kids feel really good about the work that they’re doing and that’s really all I can ask for.”

While “The Wizard of Oz” is a story most will be familiar with and according to Roland, the adaptation the school is working with follows closely to the original film version from 1939, there has been one difference. Roland said she and the cast decided to include a song and dance number called “The Jitterbug.” Aside from that, audience members have enjoyed the same familiar story and same familiar faces.

JDHS sophomore Haylee Baxter takes on the classic role of the Wicked Witch from “The Wizard of Oz”, now in production through Saturday, May 6. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

JDHS sophomore Haylee Baxter takes on the classic role of the Wicked Witch from “The Wizard of Oz”, now in production through Saturday, May 6. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

“Honestly, I hate to pick favorites, Emilia (Shelton-Walker) who plays the wizard is one of my favorite parts in the entire show,” Roland said. “All of the kids are wonderful but she’s just so funny. Also the main four, Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion, are also a really solid group of students and I love them all dearly, they’re all really good.”

Shelton-Walker, a freshman at JDHS, said it’s been a while since she’s actually sat down and watched the entire movie, so rather than trying to copy what she could recall from the screen, she tried to rely more on the script and her own instincts for bringing life to the iconic role of Oz.

JDHS junior Rachel Wood stars as Glinda the Good Witch in the Juneau high school’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.” The cast is comprised of students from both JDHS, TMHS and students homeschooling, as well. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

JDHS junior Rachel Wood stars as Glinda the Good Witch in the Juneau high school’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.” The cast is comprised of students from both JDHS, TMHS and students homeschooling, as well. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

“It’s fun, I’ve liked it a lot,” Shelton-Walker said. “This is my second high school production, but I’ve been in a bunch of plays before.”

JDHS auditorium manager Bo Anderson was responsible for sets and lighting design and siblings Ava and Reuben Grimes were solely in charge of choreographing the dances.

In addition to choreographing, Ava and Reuben also have parts within the show, as well. Reuben plays the part of Uncle Henry, as well as one of the munchkins in the Lollipop Guild, while Ava takes on the iconic role of the Cowardly Lion.

Joining Ava in the lineup of iconic roles are JDHS junior Kyra Wood as the Tin Man, TMHS junior Johnathan Gee-Miles as the Scarecrow and TMHS freshman Megan Peirce as Dorothy. Other notable performances are JDHS sophomore Haylee Baxter as the Wicked Witch, JDHS junior Rachel Wood as Glinda the Good Witch and 7-year-old Delia Grimes as Toto.

JDHS freshman Emilia Shelton-Walker plays both Marvel and the Wizard of Oz in the Juneau high school’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz.” (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

JDHS freshman Emilia Shelton-Walker plays both Marvel and the Wizard of Oz in the Juneau high school’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz.” (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Wood has been active in Juneau theater since he was 7-years-old and started with Theatre Latitude 58 and most recently was in Perseverance Theater’s production of “Fun Home.” “The Wizard” of Oz marks Wood’s first high school performance.

“It’s been really fun bringing the Tin Man to life,” Wood said. “I sort of made it my own through interactions with other people and made him a little bit more of the group, he’s a little bit more connected to the other members of the core four. So, even though he doesn’t have a heart, I had a really good time performing and connecting with the other actors.”

Gee-Miles is one of four students from Thunder Mountain High School to join the cast. This is his third production with JDHS and has been active with other theater projects around town, as well. Gee-Miles said that while the Scarecrow is known for his physically comedic aspects, he mostly enjoyed the opportunity to have “genuine fun” with his friends onstage.

Delia Grimes,7, plays the part of Toto in this year’s rendition of “The Wizard of Oz”, which has a cast consisting of both JDHS and TMHS students and is performed at the JDHS auditorium. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Delia Grimes,7, plays the part of Toto in this year’s rendition of “The Wizard of Oz”, which has a cast consisting of both JDHS and TMHS students and is performed at the JDHS auditorium. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

“It definitely takes a toll energywise when he’s hurt, but it’s just really fun and an exciting moment to be one of the main four characters,” Gee-Miles said. “I never really thought I’d see myself being the Scarecrow, but it’s been a really fun experience, especially with Kyra and Ava.”

Ava homeschools with IDEA Homeschool in Juneau. Coming from a theater family, Ava has been performing in shows since she was the age of four or five. Theatre Latitude 58 and started performing with JDHS when she was in the eighth-grade. Ava said one of the things she’s enjoyed the most about her rendition of the Cowardly Lion has been the overexaggerated drama the beloved character calls for.

“I think my favorite part of playing the character has been the drama and the kind of divaness that the lion has, so in my songs I like to break the fourth wall a lot and just be really self-absorbed but still have that really cowardly dramatic aspect,” Ava said. “I just really love bringing the drama and the crying and just playing off of the Scarecrow and Tin Man characters, as well. I’ve really enjoyed getting to be super dramatic.”

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com

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