Wizard of OZ

The Munchkins
Brett Schenck 3/11/2011

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments««««««««««««««««««««««««««««...Page 2 Proposal««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««...Page 3 Research Paper««««««««««««««««««««««««««««Pages 4 ± 8 What I¶ve learned««««««««««««««..««««««««««««««..Page 9 Citation Page««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««Page 10

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Acknowledgements I¶d like to thank the following people for helping in my senior project: Mrs. Rutkowski Ms. Wasilewski Ms. Becker Ms. Hyder Ms. Bunnell T.J. Accurso Thank You!

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Proposal The proposal page has been submitted to Ms. Pray.

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The Wizard of Oz ± Munchkins Brett Schenck Mrs. Rutkowski Senior Project March 11, 2011 I¶ve always had a strong interest in the theatrical arts. I¶ve been involved with music since the fourth grade, and I¶ve been involved with theatrical arts since I¶ve been in the sixth grade. It¶s always been a way to express myself via performing. My high school years have really allowed me to socialize and ³dabble´ in performing in front of large crowds. I¶ve been in the following high school productions: The Sound of Music, Guys and Dolls, The World Goes µRound, and currently The Wizard of Oz. The Wizard of OZ will be my last high school play, so I wanted to make it count. My original plans were to work with a professional videographer; however those plans did not follow through. I then realized that maybe it isn¶t a bad thing that they didn¶t follow through? It opened my eyes that I was most passionate about the Wizard of Oz. My first step was to decide how I can incorporate the Wizard of Oz into my senior project. Without much consideration, I came across the thought to use children as munchkins. It occurred to me that this task would not be easy because my original reasoning contained many fallacies. For example, where would I get children? How do I coordinate this kind of project? Do I have enough time in between my regular play rehearsal and my two jobs? Initiating this task was not easy, but to begin I went to talk to Mrs. Rutkowski, the play director.

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Mrs. Rutkowski thought it was a great idea. She had already been thinking about using children as munchkins so it allowed us to collaborate our ideas. Briefly after discussing our ideas, Mrs. Rutkowski and I decided to send a letter to Dr. Scott, the principle of the Elementary Center, requesting permission to hold auditions for children in grades¶ second through fourth. The next day we received confirmation from Dr. Scott allowing us to hold auditions. The next task to do was to write up letters to send to the parents of all children in grades¶ second through fourth. These letters were to inform the parents of what we were doing and they included permissions forms. It wasn¶t long before we received about seventy-five permission forms back. It was at this moment that Mrs. Rutkowski and I realized that casting the munchkins will not be an easy task. We had decided that there will be five judges to eliminate any preexisting differences that we may have with the children. The first two judges were Mrs. Rutkowski and I; the other three judges were Ms. Hyder, Mrs. Bunnell, and T.J. Accurso. The judges were chosen based on their background knowledge on theatrical arts and music. The most exciting and entertaining portion of my project was casting the munchkins. It took place on a Friday night a few months ago. To judge the munchkins, a ³grading rubric´ was provided. We were to grade each munchkin based on their singing, acting, stage presence, behavior, and dancing. We decided on a very popular song that was easy for a second through fourth grader to sing. We also chose a phrase for the children to say. The munchkins were called in to perform by the time they arrived. For example, the first munchkin to arrive at the school was the first to perform. The judges, including myself, were sitting in the auditorium as they munchkins performed. It was very difficult to judge at first

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because we had to organize ourselves appropriately to assess each munchkin. Some of the munchkins were unbelievably cute. From the start of the auditions to the finish, it was very hard to decide what grade to assign to the child. Along the way, there were a few children that really stood out. For example, there is this second grade student whom was very excited about the Wizard of Oz. Firstly; he must have seen the movie over twenty times because he could narrate it word for word. Before audition, he went up to every parent and asking them ³Hi my name is Ryan and I really, really, REALLY want to be the blue munchkin that came from the sewer.´ His repetitive bubbly attitude made it very easy to like him. During his audition, you can almost get the sense that his mother told him to make sure he smiles, because his smile had the appearance that it was forced on. It was very adorable. By the end of the auditions, we ended up keeping about 50 children. Thirty of them were munchkins, and twenty of them were winkies. We decided to use children that didn¶t make it as munchkins as winkies. After all the munchkins and winkies were selected, they were sent letters via school about rehearsal. Rehearsals for the munchkins and winkies started out on Friday nights as their own separate rehearsal. The first rehearsal was very interesting because you didn¶t know the children and they didn¶t know you. The first activity that we had them do is sing the munchkin land song. Most of them were recalling it from when they saw the movie, so handing out papers with the lyrics was unnecessary. The munchkins did not do very well with it at first. They were not in the correct pitch and could not follow the song in a timely manner. However, by the end of the practice, I think they definitely improved in their vocals.

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The next rehearsal we took things from a different approach. We decided that half of the rehearsal will be dedicated to singing and the second half will be dedicated to movement on stage. We thought this was a good idea, but things never go as we plan. As adults, we don¶t nearly recall our childhood as much as we should. When we were younger, apparently we had a strong urge to constantly go to the bathroom. It was exciting and it was a fun trip to visit a bathroom in the high school. Well, the children of munchkin land loved to visit the bathroom. Teaching the munchkins the choreography was probably the most difficult. It was hard for them to learn to work with one another and to be in the right spot at the correct time. Ryan, the adorable munchkin, would argue that ³that¶s not how they did it in the movie.´ It was all very cute. By about the middle of all the rehearsals, the munchkins had the choreography down perfectly. For the winkies, it wasn¶t too hard to teach them their parts because it was rather basic. Winkies, are the witches slaves, and they only say ³yoo-wee oh, yoo-oh!´ They caught on to it very quickly. Staying in sync with one another was a hassle, but eventually they accomplished it. The winkies also had to march while saying their chant. It really brought the illusion that they were enslaved by the witch. It wasn¶t long until we decided what munchkins will be in the lollipop guild and the lullaby league. It was very clear that Ryan would be in the lollipop guild because of his astonishing stage presence. The rest of the guild and the league were selected based on their performance compared to the others. They had their own choreography and singing part. About two weeks before the play, I could already tell that the play was coming together very well. The high school actors and actresses were comfortable around them. This made things

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³flow´ much better and brought a sense of realism to the play. Something still seemed unsatisfying and unfinished. They were doing awesome with their parts. Everybody was in sync with one another. I then realized that it was the costumes and scenery that weren¶t provided a strong illusion for me. So I talked to Ms. Becker, the volunteer parent whom was in charge of costumes and props. I asked her about the munchkin¶s costumes and how she was doing them. Her response was ³exactly like the movie.´ At the week before the play, Ms. Becker really pulled through with her costumes. She was right; they were exactly like the movie. I could not believe my eyes; it was almost like watching the movie. The children whom played the munchkins and the winkies in the Wizard of OZ really stepped up and displayed an outstanding performance. They truly worked extremely hard and were very committed to this production. I was taken by shock when I watched them perform, each one of them shined like little actors. At the end, the crowd roared for the munchkins and the winkies because they did such an excellent job. The show was magnificent. I hope that my presence has made an impact on them in a positive way. I¶d really hope to see them in their high school plays when they grow older. I remember when I was younger and my brother was in plays, which really influenced me to be a part of the theatrical arts. I¶d guarantee that the same principle applies to what I¶ve done. I¶ve really grow so very close to each and every munchkin and winkies. At first, it felt like a bad thing that the play was over. It means that I will probably never seem them again. Now, I realize that one chapter of our lives may be over; however it provides strength to open another chapter.

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What I¶ve learned Through this whole experience, I¶ve learned how to deal with children. It feels like it was almost a behavioral study on them. I¶ve noticed specific key personalities and behaviors that some of the children had. I could definitely say that I¶ve learned how to help a child learn something. It is different from dealing with someone your own age because they understand what you¶re telling them. A child is unable to comprehend specific things you ask of them. For example, teaching them to go around an object while dancing. If they forget what you¶ve told them, they will just stand there and do the exact opposite. It all was very interesting. I was a little curious about the movie and the munchkins from the movie. So, I went online and found information about the last surviving munchkins. They have some very interesting stories from the set.

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Citation Page 1. Will, Keck. "We wish to welcome you to Munchkin Land." USA Todayn.d.: Academic Search
Elite. EBSCO. Web. 10 Mar. 2011.

2. THE ASSOCIATED, PRESS. "Mickey Carroll, 89, an 'Oz' Munchkin." New York Times 08 May
2009: 10. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Web. 10 Mar. 2011.

3. Aram, Dorit, and Smadar Mor. "Theatre for a young audience: how can we better prepare
kindergartners for the experience?." Research in Drama Education 14.3 (2009): 391-409. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Web. 10 Mar. 2011.

4. Zoglin, Richard, and Amy LennardGoehner. "SETTING A NEW STAGE FOR KIDS." Time 164.20
(2004): 104-110. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Web. 10 Mar. 2011.

5. Wizard of Oz.Dir. Victor Fleming. MGM Studios, 1939. DVD

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