Contact: Mattie Majors

The word is out. The pre-k thru 5th grade students at Clark Elementary School are staging their first production.ever! On Wednesday May 7th at 1:00 p.m. and Thursday May 8th at 6:00 p.m. they’ll rush out of the wings, hit center stage and command the attention of adoring parents, family and friends as they present the timeless tale about dreams and reality – The Wizard of OZ. The play will feature dozens of ‘real’ Munchkins dancing (not singing) all over the stage to the delight of all in attendance. It’ll all take place in the Jared W. Finney High School auditorium, 17200 Southampton.

The Wizard of Oz was the production of choice because, understandably, it was easy to cast the parts. Even Toto was no problem. It’s a student in a dog suit-LaKeise Butler. The other ‘stars’ are Marc Davenport as the Tin Man; Byron Burbank as the Cowardly Lion; Shannon Akins as the Scarecrow; two Wizards-Jerry Bradford and Demontz Pryor; and three Dorothys-JonTonette Brewer, Zakia Jones and Destiny White.

It took a great deal of work to make this show a reality, but under the guidance of teacher/director, Ms. Penelope Johnson, it all came together. The students and their parents worked hand in hand every step of the way beginning last school year. There were many fundraisers, scores of rehearsals, parents sewing costumes and working on the scenery, and of course painting the famed yellow brick road. Many lessons were learned as they worked on the production and all of them good.

“We hope that we can continue to bring the Fine Arts to our students at Clark so that they will have another avenue to follow as they pursue achievement and success,” said Ms. Johnson. “This project has immersed the students in stage production, acting, and theatre in general. They are experiencing all of the excitement that goes with it and that in itself is a great learning experience,” she added. The parents and students even received some advise and encouragement from visiting celebrities such as T.J. Hemphill, the author and producer of ‘Perilous Times’ and Corey McClure, a performer in that play; Comic View and Def Comedy Jam veteran Bill Hill; and stage actor/director Lorenzo Lawton.

Tickets to the performances are only $5.00 in advance from Clark School, 15755 Bremen, or $6.00 at the door. You can reach the school office at 313-417-9340. This performance of The Wizard of Oz is a fundraiser to help purchase additional technology to foster the students’ academic achievement. So jump on your broom, or catch a ride in a flying house, or put on your ruby slippers, but don’t miss the show!!

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