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Heith Lawrence stars as the Tin Man in ‘Wizard of Oz’

MOORE HAVEN — Heith Lawrence’s theater career has gone over the rainbow at Moore Haven Middle/High School, where he starred as the Tin Man in a two-night run of “The Wizard of Oz” on May 10 and 11.

Heith Lawrence, center, plays the Tin Man in the Moore Haven Middle High School production of the “Wizard of Oz” on May 10-11. (Photo Beverly Bidney)

This was Heith’s second year on the stage; as a freshman last year he starred in “Little Shop of Horrors” and learned he loved to perform.

“It feels pretty good this year,” Heith said as he waited for makeup in the green room before dress rehearsal on May 9. “Last year I had more to worry about. Now I’m not the main character so it takes a lot off me.”

As a veteran performer, Heith is much more comfortable on the stage and most students recognize him. Although he said the role of Tin Man is more challenging.

“I put a lot more emotion into him,” said the 10th-grader from the Brighton Reservation.

The musical, based on L. Frank Baum’s children’s book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” written in 1900, follows the adventures of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion as they make their way to the Emerald City to ask the Wizard of Oz to grant their wishes. Along the way, trouble ensues in the guise of the Wicked Witch of the West. Munchkins, apple-throwing trees, poppies and flying monkeys all have time in the spotlight.

The 40-person cast was a large one and included about 25 fourth- and- fifth-graders from Moore Haven Elementary School. The rest were middle and high school students. A crew of seven students managed the eight sets and the many set changes during the show. Music director Bryan Browning was proud of his entire cast, but had a lot of praise for the lead characters.

“These guys are very talented,” Browning said. “You just have to tell them once – you don’t even have to finish telling them and they know what to do.”

More than 500 attended the performances, which went off without a hitch.

Heith Lawrence sits still as Jessica Browning applies his silver makeup to transform him into the Tin Man. (Photo Beverly Bidney)
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Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at beverlybidney@semtribe.com.

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