IT’S show time at the Salesian College in Pallaskenry and for the past several weeks, the Transition Year students have been mastering the ropes and honing their singing, dancing, acting, painting and organisational talents as part of Team Wiz.
And by next week, when the musical The Wiz opens, they hope to be note and word perfect.
It’s a lot of work, for just three nights of stage-fame but the annual musical is regarded as an important rite of passage in the school and something which all Transition Year students get the chance to enjoy.
It means however that, each year, director/producer Miriam Ball starts with a blank canvas. But, she stresses, by the end of the show’s run, all the 40-plus students will have learned valuable skills.
And of course, there are always the students who have been singing and dancing outside of school. People like Aimee Jones from Askeaton who has recently taken part in a singing competition and who likes singing and playing piano. “I was delighted,” she says of being selected for the main lead. “It is mostly conversation and it’s grand.”
Lisa Blackwell from Askeaton who is the Evil Witch is another student with experience to back up her role. Lisa has taken part in several musicals in her home town and says simply. “I like acting.”
So too does Aaron Coughlan from Kildimo, a student at the Limerick School of Acting and whose ambitions in life is to be an actor. He says of his role as The Wiz: “It’s fun. I have to be really loud and bring up the energy and shout but the character is really funky and cool.”
Yet another of the main characters in the musical, the Scarecrow as played by Josh Fitzgerald from Ballybrown, also has experience, having appeared in Grease in Rathkeale. “I like doing plays,” he revealed. “It is the acting I like.”
But for others, like Ryan Kelly from Pallaskenry who plays the lion, appearing on stage is a very new experience but one that is great fun.
The musical, The Wiz, explains director Miriam Ball, has the same story line as the film but songs are a bit different and there are more characters involved.
“This is a big show with a huge chorus,” she explains. “It is the kind of show where, whenever you have a crowd scene, you have dancing. There is a lot more chorus work also.”
And she has nothing but praise for her young students, all of whom have put heart and soul into making The Wiz a success.
The show opens on Thursday, March 7 with a matinee for local schools and there will be three evening performances on March 7, 8 and 9. Tickets cost €12 and €6 with family tickets costing €40. Tickets available from the college.