‘Oz:’ A trip down the yellow brick road

There’s no yellow brick road on Education Hill, but the Redmond High School (RHS) Performing Arts Center is where you’ll find Redmond Junior High’s (RJH) musical production of “Oz.” The show opened April 17 and continues at 7:30 p.m. April 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26. There are also matinees at 2:30 p.m. April 19 and 26.

  • Saturday, April 19, 2008 12:00am
  • Life

Sarah Oates performs as Dorothy as the Munchkins run away from her when The Wicked Witch appears during a dress rehearsal of “Oz.”

80 junior high students make up spirited cast

There’s no yellow brick road on Education Hill, but the Redmond High School (RHS) Performing Arts Center is where you’ll find Redmond Junior High’s (RJH) musical production of “Oz.” The show opened April 17 and continues at 7:30 p.m. April 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26. There are also matinees at 2:30 p.m. April 19 and 26.

Tickets are $3 for RJH students, $6 for other children and teens (under 18) and $8 for adults.

Eighty RJH students from grades 7-9 make up the spirited cast of “Oz.” Keeping such a crowd in line is a formidable task. It’s one that’s being expertly handled by director/choreographer Kelly Willis. She’s not a staff member or parent at RJH but for seven years, was the artistic director at the Redmond-based Washington Academy of Performing Arts.

When the academy closed, Willis started working as a choreographer for Sharon Pape, the former drama teacher at Redmond High School. She’s now glad to lend a hand to RJH drama teacher Robert Aguilar.

“Oz” has a double cast so that more kids can participate. All had to audition for the show, but more for placement than any other reason.

“It’s like a no-cut sports try-out,” Willis explained. “I want every kid to feel they have something of value to give and to get from this experience. And for me, theatre is the best team sport. There are no winners or losers — we’re all working together and looking at how the team develops and improves, just as you would with a soccer team.”

She hopes that most of the young performers will take what they’ve learned to the next level. Older students from RHS serve as assistant directors. They’ve worked with Willis before and know her expectations, “so we continue instilling the discipline and professionalism we’ve practiced in this new group of students,” she said.

Ninth grader Geena Pietromonaco, who’s playing The Wicked Witch of the West, described the story of “Oz” as being closer to the book by L. Frank Baum than to the screenplay of the 1939 film, although they’ve retained the movie’s beloved song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

The RHS Performing Arts Center is at 17272 NE 104th St.

For information about “Oz,” contact Robert Aguilar at raguilar@lwsd.org or (425) 885-7034.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Life

Senior community hosts ‘Parade of Love’

The social distancing event was a chance for family and friends to share how much they miss their high-risk family members

Local musicians hold virtual benefit concert for mental health

The stream-a-thon supports NAMI Eastside and nonprofit Hold Your Crown

Exterior of the Redmond Historical Society office. File photo
Redmond Historical Society is documenting COVID-19’s impact on community

Submissions will be included in the organization’s archives.

Is it safe to go to the dentist?

What precautions are dentists taking to protect patients?

Little Bit riding center in Redmond counting on upcoming virtual fundraiser

The 35th annual Reins of Life Gala Auction is going virtual this year, including an online auction, raise the paddle and online event.

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

UW students create Spira app to gather COVID-19 data

The app was created to screen for respiratory diseases but the teen creators shifted their focus once the COVID-19 outbreak began.

Redmond Middle School student raises money for low-income families

Om Shah, 13, created a GoFundMe to support the Seattle Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund.

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

Savannah Lynn and Will Chadek in the Second Story Repertory of Redmond’s production of “The Fantasticks.” “The Fantasticks” had been performed three times by the organization until coronavirus concerns resulted in the cancellation of the remaining dates. Photo by Michael Brunk
How is the coronavirus affecting the arts?

Representatives from Eastside arts institutions discuss their experiences.

Madison Miller/staff photo
                                Aleana Roberts tries out the Jelly Jolts’ braille menu at Molly Moon’s on Feb. 23. From left: Roberts, Sanj Saini, Varnika Bhargava and Katiali Singh.
LWSD teens reveal braille menu at Molly Moon’s in Redmond

From 3-5 p.m. on Feb. 23, all sales from Molly Moon’s went to the Lighthouse for the Blind.

Standing room only at historical talk on Redmond’s ties to fascism

Redmond Historical Society presents latest installment of Saturday Speaker Series.