Destiny Kauffman hunched her shoulders, bent her knees slightly and scowled.
After all, she was getting into her Munchkin character.
“I’m thinking about being grumpy because I’m in the Lollipop Guild,” Kauffman, 13, of Lacey said Tuesday.
The seventh-grader is one of about a dozen Aspire Middle School students who will sing and dance as Munchkins and Winkies alongside professional actors Saturday during two performances of “The Wizard of Oz” at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia.
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“It’s exciting for them to see that the arts aren’t just a hobby for some people,” said Aspire Principal Monica Sweet.
The NETworks Presentations national touring company enlists music, dance and drama students in its production, which is based on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s celebration of the 1939 MGM movie.
“From what I’ve read, they’ve visited over 150 cities with this tour,” said Chris Traber, Aspire’s drama and dance instructor.
Aspire students were invited to audition for the musical because they attend a performing arts school. Housed in the former South Sound High School in Lacey, the magnet school opened in 2009 and serves about 300 students in grades six through eight.
“We have the normal core classes, but we have three electives (a day) that specialize in the arts,” said seventh-grader Akshaya Sivakumar, 12.
Students have a selection of electives to choose from, including band, choir, orchestra, dance, theater and literary arts. Last year, more than 200 students applied for the 150 slots that were available at the school.
“That’s the hardest part not being able to accept everybody,” Sweet said.
To audition for “The Wizard of Oz,” the students had to sing “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” and dance to some choreography. They also had to commit to a rigorous after-school rehearsal schedule to learn the show’s songs and dance moves.
“That included the two weeks of winter break,” Traber said.
Despite the hard work, the students say they’re thrilled to be part of the show.
“It’s like a dream come true,” Sivakumar said. “It’s unbelievable that we got chosen for this.”