Fall musical changes dramatically

Emma Bascom, Opinion Editor

The announcement of De Soto High School’s fall musical has recently been made. While it’s a tradition to put The Wizard of Oz on the DHS stage, changes that were made this year caused excitement and nervousness throughout the directors and the cast members.

While most are excited about the DHS classic, with a larger-than-usual school, auditions and callbacks had a lot more competition than previous years.

“There were so many deserving people for the roles…and because we’re not double casting, it was so tough this year,” said Mary-Etta Copeland, vocal director for the musical, “There were so many ways we could go with this musical based on the people we had audition…just like it always is with the arts.”

Jason Hagg, lead director for the musical agreed, saying that the auditions were “amazing. Everyone just blew me away. There is so much talent here and I’m so excited to get started.”

In previous years, De Soto high school has double casted their musicals, meaning one person would perform on one night and on the next, another actor or actress would perform in that role.

Like anything, there are pros and cons to this way of casting—and, like anything, there will be a difference of opinion on the matter.

“There’s not another sport or activity that double casts in the building. You don’t have two varsity volleyball teams, there aren’t two starting football teams, you always put your best kids forward. The objective is to build a really solid program. Sometimes it’s not about numbers, but getting the right kids in the right roles,” Hagg said, “I want the strongest kids in there…and I know if you see the strongest people in the leads, you’ll become more competitive…kids will flock to that.”

Copeland disagrees. She thinks that public education is all about giving more opportunities to more students and trying to prepare students for life. “Whether it’s a discussion in English class, or learning music and performing it, it’s all life experience. I’m all for seeing as much outlet as possible. In solo roles as well as being in groups. Some people never want to move from a group, but others want and need that growth. If we had twenty or thirty kids audition, that would be another story.”

Copeland also thinks being prepared is a smarter decision. “The idea to double cast didn’t originate with me, but it just made sense. Last year our lead got a concussion and couldn’t even be in a lighted room, which put us in real trouble. He had to learn to tap dance in three days! It just seems like we’re a society where more unexpected things happen. It just seems wise to me to be ready.”

Controversy aside, the musical is exciting to both directors, especially Hagg.

“A few years ago I got to build the set for Wizard of Oz for another director, the way he wanted it built. I’m excited to build it the way I see it and to do the show how I think it should be done. Not only that, but the talent! I just can’t wait to get started,” Hagg said.