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The Westbury Times - Schools

Westbury High Awaits Wiz

Oz is coming to Westbury. 

Students in Westbury High School’s theater department are busy getting ready for their upcoming production of The Wiz, a musical based on the Wizard of Oz. While the musical has some similarities to the popular film, The Wiz is set in New York City during the 1970s, which according to choreographer Lisa Nazli, makes it a lot funkier. 

“It’s based on the Wizard of Oz but it’s not the same story. It’s all funky music and 70s sounding music,” Nazli said. 

Junior Therline Boyer plays Dorothy, and says she enjoys stepping back in time. 

“I like how it’s very 70s. It’s really groovy and it’s really fun to watch and do,” Boyer said. 

The play incorporates all types of dance, such as the hustle, African style moves, ballroom, jazz and more, which makes it appeal to a wide range of audiences. The universal appeal is one of the reasons Linda Murtaugh, faculty advisor for the drama program, chose the play. 

“We’ve done The Wiz before and it always seems to have a lot of appeal. The district seems to like it and it’s appropriate for kids so we thought it would be a great show,” Murtaugh said.

Murtaugh says she also felt like the play would be a perfect fit for the kids in the theater department.

“We had children that were really involved in theater that we knew would really like to do this show, who would really like to do this type of music. It seemed to be the right show to do at this time,” Murtaugh said. “The leads are wonderful, they’re very into what they’re doing. They’re very entertaining and very talented.” 

Nazli echoes this sentiment, saying that the cast has innate talent.

“They might not have training or experience, but they have talent. They can move and sing and it’s wonderful to work with kids like that,” Nazli said. “We want everyone to come out and see all the hundreds of hours of work we put into this. We want to show you the hidden treasure of what’s going on at Westbury High School, because I don’t think the community quite realizes the treasure they have here in these kids.” 

The play will be Murtaugh’s last show at Westbury High School, as she is retiring after 40 years of directing.

“It’s my swan song,” she says. 

Performances of the Wiz will be April 12 and 13 at 7p.m in the Westbury High School Auditorium. Tickets are $8 and children 10 and under are free.