It was an amazing 12 weeks with an extraordinary cast that affectionately became known as “Wiz Nation.” The staff that had worked hard designing and planning for a almost a year stood back and watched as they took their final bow. I can tell you what it felt like from my perspective…. but it’s the cast that made this show what it was in the end. The following is a post written by Amanda Beck, our own Dorothy, who has been a part of A Work in Progress from its inception and now, as a senior, will be moving on to other stages.
Everybody was leaving. The lights had dimmed and the crowd had left. Cast members bid each other tearful farewells, stepping out of the magical theatre and into the bitter night air. As I started to follow them out, something in my heart told me to stop. I turned around and saw the abandoned stage behind me… dark and empty, but full of colorful memories.
Dropping my things, I ran back to the stage, determined to get one last look. I placed my toes on the “x” that marks center stage, and I looked out over the now vacant seats… each one having been filled by an eager audience member in decades past.
As I stood there, I didn’t remember the faces of those audience members. I didn’t remember the lights. I didn’t remember the cheers as we took our bows. None of that came to my recollection as I stood there.
What I did remember were the faces that had stood next to me on that stage. I remembered the fun, the laughs, the smiles, the tears, the love. I remembered how they had stood by me, no matter what, believing in me when no one else did. I remembered the whispered “good jobs” offstage, the warm embraces after a scene, and the way it felt to raise my arms in the air with my beloved cast for a final bow. Together.
I took one last look. I realized that so many people had stood where I was standing… and so many more would follow. My heart smiled. They will feel the same way I have felt… and they won’t do it alone. Those lights and those audience members won’t change them. It will be the smiling faces next to them that make them who they are.
Slowly but surely, I walked offstage. But I didn’t leave behind my memories. I took them with me. I will never forget that journey down the long road of yellow bricks… but most of all, I will never forget how I found my home.