East staff shines in “the Wuz”


The one-time-only performance of “The Wuz” faculty show was nothing but a success. Beginning at 7:30 p.m., the cast, entirely made up of Cherry Hill East staff, began its performance of the original play, written by Mr. Pete Gambino, East English teacher, and directed by Mr. Tom Weaver, East English and Drama teacher.

“The Wuz” was a takeoff of “The Wiz,” a musical version of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. The majority of “The Wuz” took place in cyberspace, after Dorothy (Ms. Allison Granite) falls and has a crazy dream.

At the start of the performance, Mr. Bob Hulme, assistant principal and the producer of the play, took a few minutes to recognize the more than forty faculty members taking part in the show. After a few jokes and a list of rules, he made way for the opening number, “Teacher Teacher” by 38 Special, which included all of the cast members, lined up dancing, in stereotypical high school gear.

Next, a baffled Dorothy came onto stage for her first day as a freshman at a new school after transferring from somewhere in Kansas.  Albert (Mr. Bert Figueroa) came along to offer advice. He explained some ins-and-outs of the school, explaining that there is no fourth floor, and ended with the advice that she should “be smart, but only smart enough to pass,” as he then performed Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song”.

Following his performance was a cafeteria scene, in which Dorothy experienced the wrap line with Franz (Mr. Greg Gagliardi), who told her all about the dynamics of lunch and the cafeteria tables. He explained how each table is a set of all-alike students and ended with a short break-dance session and a rap to clarify his opinion on how to be cool at lunch.

All during Franz’s explanation, Mary (Ms. Katie Kelly) acted as a queen bee figure who proceeded to criticize Dorothy’s innocent schoolgirl attire, especially targeting the sparkling, ruby red Converse sneakers. After insults were thrown all over, Dorothy stood back for Mary’s performance of “Brick House” by The Commodores.

Just moments later, Dorothy broke out into her own rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” singing of her past fondness of school and how she wishes to express herself, be popular and fit in.

At this point, Dorothy decided to go see her Guitar Hero-playing guidance counselor (Mr. Charlie Musumeci) and inform him that she has decided to drop out of school. Frankly, he denied her request and sent her off to her seventh period.

While at her locker, an upperclassman pushed in Dorothy and this began her dream.

Dorothy first arrived to the Internet and was overwhelmed by all of the possibilities of places to go. Each dancing cast member, clad in a brightly colored T-shirt, represented a different website that fascinated Dorothy. The ensemble performed The Black Eyed Peas’ “Generation Now,” and Dorothy declared the Internet “the best place in the world.”

At this point, Lady Gaga (Ms. Lu Foley) became the “good witch” and tried to pry Dorothy from her new obsession, explaining the dangers of the Internet. She had minimal success and Dorothy was mesmerized by the advertisements that boasted that their products would make her popular. Upon receiving a pink rhinestone-encrusted Blackberry Smartphone, Dorothy was convinced that celebrity Bella Bling-Bling (Ms. Jenn Greenwald) was her new best friend and would do anything to meet and please her. In very high spirits, Dorothy danced down the yellow brick road, chanting, “there’s no place like Google.”

After a brief conversation with a computer (the cyberspace version of Albert) in the Wuz Wide Web Internet Café, Dorothy and her new friend skipped down the yellow brick road to a 15-minute intermission.

After intermission, the cast appeared to be wolves in a biker bar, where Dorothy clearly did not fit in and was not served because she was not their “type”. She was ridiculed, and eventually fought with Mary as the pit orchestra, led all night by Mr. Jay Cohen, played the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”.

A new scene was presented, where the audience met Bella Bling-Bling as she prepared for a party she was hosting that night, ready to embarrass Dorothy in front of all of her friends. Bella dragged Montgomery (Mr. Bill Kovnat) with her, doing everything she wished to ensure she would not have to lift a finger.

Starstruck, Dorothy did not know what to do with herself upon meeting Bella; she loved everything about her and loved her ways. Bella then belted Madonna’s “Material Girl” and Lady Gaga came back to wonder aloud what has happened to loving each other, peace and positive vibes.  Dorothy shunned Albert, Franz and Mary, as she walked off with new “friend” Bella.  Albert and Mary later decided to search for Dorothy to try to save her, but Franz, who finally found courage, said that he did not want to help someone who dissed them the way that she did.

Next, Bella’s monkey servants (Mr. George Zografos, Mr. CJ Davis and Ms. Tisch Schuman) led Bella to the basement, where she would “wait” for the party to start.

East Principal Dr. John O’Breza’s face appeared, just like the Wizard of Oz’s did in “The Wizard of Oz” and he introduced himself as the “Wizard of Wuz,” who knows all.

All of the Wuz citizens tried explaining to Dorothy how the party was just an excuse for Bella to be a bully, but she would not listen. Little did she know, Bella was preparing a potion to make Dorothy the “most hideous thing in the universe.”

Ignoring the citizens’ advice that in life “people who love you for who you are, not what you have” are the important ones, Dorothy excitedly went to the party, meeting all of Bella’s friends dressed very fancily. Bella forced Dorothy to sing Rebecca Black’s “Friday” in hopes of embarrassing her. But, at the end of the song, Dorothy pushed Bella into the cauldron of potion and all of Bella’s friends cheered with excitement.  Even Montgomery turned on Bella.

The entire cast then sang and danced to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” to celebrate Dorothy’s success.

When the faculty danced off stage, Dorothy arrived back in her guidance counselor’s office, where she found out all of this was just a dream. She decided that her new school wasn’t so bad after all, and she will take it class-by-class.

With a roaring crowd and standing ovation during the grand finale, the faculty’s hard work certainly paid off.

“I truly enjoyed myself at this phenomenal performance the teachers put on for us,” said David Nahum (’14).

Congrats to all of the cast and crew of “The Wuz” on its success!

(Note: For video coverage, click here: http://www.eastside-online.org/news/see-video-coverage-of-the-faculty-musical-the-wuz/)