Saint Francis Xavier pupils rehearse for musical

SFX students rehearsing for The Wiz.

Pupils at Saint Francis Xavier School, Richmond, are rehearsing for a production of The Wiz which will be performed from July 10 to 12.

The show is a soul musical retelling of L Frank Baum’s classic children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

When Dorothy is swept up in a storm and lands in a strange land called Oz, she is sent on a journey down the yellow brick road to meet the mighty Wiz who might just be able to send her home again.

On the way she meets Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion who could all benefit from a trip to see the Wiz too. What follows is a journey of self-discovery for Dorothy and her new friends as they learn they are more capable than they believe.

The school production features a cast of 40 pupils aged between 11 and 15 and is directed by English and drama teacher Claire Smith.

The production features a 13-piece professional band led by musical director and school head of music Chris Rodaway, while fellow teacher Catherine Knight has taken responsibility for choreography.

Making her stage debut, pet therapy dog Evie will be playing the role of Toto.

Labrador Evie regularly visits care homes and hospitals and her calm temperament makes her the ideal choice for the part.

The Wiz was conceived by Sam Bobrick, Charlie Smalls and William F Brown, who originally set the musical in the context of African-American culture.

The production opened on Broadway in 1975 with an all-black cast and went on to win seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The production was made into a film by Universal Pictures and Motown Productions, with Diana Ross playing the lead character of Dorothy, and Michael Jackson in the role of the Scarecrow.

Tickets are available from school reception.

Adults £8, children (16 and under) £5. Box Office 01748 823414 or email