My younger brother, Ian, once fashioned himself as a future film director, and he seemed well on the way to fulfilling such a career as a kid. Starting at age 7 and going almost all the way through high school, he made dozens of Super-8 movies, with subjects as varied as a baseball player who can’t stop hitting home runs, a grocery store robbery and (as an older teen) a slasher-type horror show.
Through the simple fact I was his brother — and absolutely not as a result of any talent — I was the star of many of these cinematic extravaganzas.
If Ian still was shooting movies with the old Super-8 today, my guess is Grace would get repeated top billing. My daughter simply loves performing — whether it’s dancing on the auditorium, singing at high volume around the house, playing piano or acting, as she will be tonight, Friday and Sunday in the Worthington High School production of “The Wizard of Oz.”
For the past few weeks, Grace has taken part in rehearsals along with other “Munchkins” in preparation for what will be her second theatrical production on the Memorial Auditorium stage. After having a role in “Shrek” this past summer, she was set on being in “Oz” almost right away and has shown an unwavering enthusiasm for the play. While some part of her joy of performing is almost certainly a product of the resulting attention she receives — both of Becca’s parents are already here for the show, and my dad arrives today — I do think Grace has a genuine love for being in the spotlight.
That love for the spotlight, of course, is shared by plenty of those who will “follow the yellow brick road” over the next few days. After last year’s scintillating production of “Hairspray,” I’m really looking forward to seeing what the talented WHS crew can pull off this time around.
After learning “The Wizard of Oz,” was going to be this year’s musical, I immediately pictured Jessica Arnt — who shined in the supporting role of Penny in “Hairspray” — as Dorothy. Sure enough, she got the part, and from the dress rehearsal photos I saw on Facebook the other night, she embodies the part in many ways.
I’m also eager to see Annie Lesnar, who had the “Hairspray” lead and was so fun to work with in “Shrek” (she was very supportive of a certain 40-something clod with two left feet), play Glinda the Good Witch. Orissa Nitibhon, one of the hilarious three little pigs in “Shrek,” gets to be the Cowardly Lion. And Alex Purdy, who I’ve watched grow up over the past few years and now count as a part-time Daily Globe employee, gets to be the Tin Man.
There are many, many others involved in this play — close to 100 in all, from what I read in Jane Turpin Moore’s recent article — and given all the work that’s gone into all facets of the production, not to mention the familiarity of “Oz” to many of us, I would think it would be more than worthy of very strong community support.
I could easily tell everyone to see it because of my talented 9-year-old daughter, but that wouldn’t do everyone else justice. Naturally, though, my eyes will certainly go right to Grace while she’s on the stage. Perhaps this will be the latest step in a gradual rise to acting stardom … or perhaps she’ll simply be the eventual star of her younger brother’s home movies. Either way, it’s all fun for this dad to behold.