In celebration of its 20th season Class Act, performing troupe for youth, based in The Woodlands opened its extravaganza “The Wizard of Oz,” last week. The musical continues this weekend at Nancy Bock Center for the Performing Arts in The Woodlands.
As expected, praise was lavish and well-deserved for founder Keith Brumfield’s efforts. Young thespians love “Mr. B’s” quiet direction and easy-going nature. He gained respect years ago from enthusiastic parents who realize that his expertise works magic with their children.
Brumfield, and Matthew Peters of The Woodlands High School theatre department who assists him for this show, work with ordinary kids, discern nuggets of talent, and polish many of them into stars. A big part of this success is the total support from parents for their clever offspring and the intrepid leader.
In “The Wizard of Oz,” Jaden Harris portrays the major role of Dorothy who becomes lost in a dream world with her “little dog” Toto. They meet some kindly souls, less amicable witches, a conglomerate series of unbelievable beings, a man of mythical powers (or none at all), and finally make it back home to Kansas.
Jaden is a junior at The Woodlands High School where she participates in all things theatre, including past productions of “Little Shop of Horrors,” and “The Addams Family.” Some other Class Act roles were in “Mary Poppins” and “The Little Mermaid.”
Murphy Baker earned a 10-year history with Class Act. She becomes the Wicked Witch of The West. A fres
h grad of TWHS, Baker was heavily involved there in theatre and choir, and played myriad roles in Class Act’s “Oliver!”, “Crazy for You,” “Mary Poppins,” “Shrek the Musical,” plus a plethora others. She plans to attend Colorado Mesa University to earn a bachelor of fine arts in musical theatre.
Tin Man Jack Whitney graduated from John Cooper School where he performed in “Cinderella,” “The Boyfriend,” and others. His credits with Class Act include “The Sound of Music” and “The Little Mermaid.” He’s enrolling at Williams College this fall.
After 13 years with Class Act that include 38 musicals, soprano Emily Moses graduated from John Cooper School and plans to study vocal performance at Louisiana State University, leading to a career in opera. She performed in Cooper productions as well as with Houston Grand Opera, and currently portrays good witch Glinda.
Brandon Brumfield, son of much-loved Class Act founder, is 21 and aging out of Class Act productions after participating since age 7. He’s the Cowardly Lion in this rendition of “Oz.” “I’
m an EMT student training to be a firefighter,” Brandon said. “Along with acting I am a drummer and an outdoorsman.”
He also started a film company, Magic Fire Productions, and has won a number of awards for film projects. His Class Act roles were in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat,” as Bill Sikes in “Oliver!”, “The Sound of Music,” and numerous summer stock productions.
“The Wizard of Oz” runs July 14, 15, 16, with some 7 p.m. performances as well as other afternoon matinees. Reserve at www.classactproductions.org or 281-292-6779. Tickets cost $13 t0 $32, depending on seat location.