YPCCA presents its latest spectacle, 'The Wizard of Oz'

By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
East Hampton - posted Mon., Apr. 25, 2011
Some of the younger members of the multi-generational cast of YPCCA's 'Wizard of Oz.' Photos by Kevin Hotary.
Some of the younger members of the multi-generational cast of YPCCA's 'Wizard of Oz.' Photos by Kevin Hotary.

“This is about as big as it gets,” said Jennifer Friday, the director of "The Wizard of Oz," the latest production of the Young People’s Center for Creative Arts (YPCCA), as the cast and crew of 90-plus prepared for their first full rehearsal on the lighted stage at East Hampton High School.  The show is the group’s fundraiser for the Mike and Adina Mansfield Scholarship, which for more than 20 years has been given to an East Hampton student planning to pursue a degree in education or the performing arts.

It’s not just the size of the cast, which includes members ranging in age from 5 to 50 years old, that makes the show such a large undertaking, said Friday - it’s all of the costumes, choreography and staging, as well as the inclusion of what Friday said is usually “a director’s worst nightmare,” a live animal, to play the part of Toto. But since rehearsals began in February, the show is “coming together well,” said Friday, which she credits to the hard work of the cast and crew, as well as the “phenomenal community support” she said the group has been getting from the start.

“My hope is that it’s going to be quite the spectacle,” said Friday.

According to Friday, YPCCA has not done a multi-generational show like "The Wizard of Oz" since the early ‘90s.

"We really wanted to do a big community show - something that would really get the people excited,” said Friday.  The small children in the production add to the already high energy level, and bring “a certain cuteness factor that can’t be denied,” she said.   

"I can’t imagine doing Oz without children in it.  It’s the spirit of the show, the spirit of Oz.  The child in all of us,” Friday said.

Similarly, the teens and adults in the show have been phenomenal, she said, particularly the students who rehearse for hours, even though they have so many other commitments.

“When they come here, they really give it their all,” said Friday.

The scholarship that is being supported by this production is named after YPCCA founder Mike Mansfield and his wife, Adina.  First presented in 1989, the scholarship has grown yearly, to its current level of $1,500, said Rachel Mansfield, Mike and Adina’s daughter and the current director of YPCCA.   

“We hadn’t done a fundraiser for 15 years.  Then we did 'High School Musical' in 2009,” said Mansfield, adding that the larger shows help in increasing the scholarship level.  Ideally, she said, she would like to increase the scholarship to $2,000 to $2,500, which she said she thinks they will reach “if we keep doing large shows.”

Awarded based on a written essay, this year’s scholarship recipient is Hilary Parsons, who will be attending Brandeis University.  She has been a member of YPCCA for six years, said Mansfield.

Performance times for "The Wizard of Oz" are 7 p.m. on May 5, 6 and 7, and 2 p.m. on May 8 at the East Hampton High School auditorium. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door or online at www.ypcca.org.  


Contact Kevin Hotary with comments and story ideas at khotary@remindernet.com

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