Spinning elegantly across the stage reminding the dancers of their next queue. Watching every move and counting every beat. Smiling when the scene is executed flawlessly. Ensuring that no move went unrecognized and no spin was timed too fast. Mary Pelkey is the choreographer that made The Wizard of Oz come to life.
Mary Pelkey is a 16 year old sophomore who took on a task by chance and the shoe fit perfectly. For her latest project ,The Wizard of Oz, Pelkey choreographs all of the dances for all of the characters. She can also be recognized for her other shows which she choreographed, In the Heights and Guys and Dolls in 2017.
Among Woodland Theatre, Pelkey is a sensation. She is a valuable contributor to the program, creating whimsical movements that make the audience jump out of their seats. The audience aren’t the only ones thrilled. Amanda Neff, or Dorothy to be exact, also has great things to say about her work as someone who learned multiple dances.
“Mary did an outstanding job,” Neff explains.” She worked very hard and made sure to get input from the cast. She was kind and created a great product. The choreography was adorable and very well thought out. I love her work.”
Mary designs every dance number during her free time and puts her heart and soul into these shows, making sure the end product is worth all of the hard work. Sometimes, the hours of taking notes and thinking of routines makes the idea of a showstopper a reality.
“Last year, I choreographed Guys and Dolls,” Pelkey explains, “but it was unintentional. I originally auditioned wanting one of the roles. I got cast as a hot box girl which inevitably led me to choreographing that show.”
This accident turned into a new found passion. The cheer from the audience was deafening, but it was not the only praise that Pelkey received from Guys and Dolls.
The Halo Awards are very important. It’s a ceremony held in the Palace Theatre that showcases all of the local talent throughout CT high school theatre. Schools come to see if their shows were worthy enough for an award. There is a plethora of different categories that students can win Halos from and the nominations are picked by Halo judges. These judges visit each show that puts in a submission and they take notes on everything that was done right. It’s terrifying. But, the end result can be amazing. Last year, as a freshman, Pelkey won a Halo award for choreography along with Laura Vitzoski and Eliana Cambra.
The Wizard of Oz is a musical based around song and dance. Its most enticing scenes are the ones in which characters gallop around the stage smiling. After hearing the announcement that the Wizard of Oz would be Woodland’s spring musical, Pelkey was thrilled to have everything she loves in one place.
“The music is so iconic that you know it and I had to be prepared and come in with it. But, I’m surrounded by great actors and this is something I love doing.”
“This year, when I heard we were doing The Wizard of Oz,” Pelkey says, “I was very excited and I thought I could definitely choreograph the show this year.”
As can be inferred, Mary is very fond of dancing. It’s something sh'[/[e enjoys and she loves that others enjoy her work as well. But, choreographing isn’t her only pass time. Outside of Woodland Theatre, she is a member of the Woodland Volleyball team.
“I love volleyball a lot,” Pelkey explains, “I love to sing and dance, obviously, and I play roller derby. It’s a lot of fun and that’s one of my favorite things to do outside of Woodland Theatre.”
Pelkey says that in roller derby, her and her teammates bash into each other most of the time, but this sport on skates couldn’t be more fun. A look of excitement even broke through her face as she explained the details.
Pelkey is a creator and an imaginator. She thinks and breathes dance as soon as she walks through the doors into the auditorium. Everything about her spirit lights up the stage and she’s ready to work. Character shoes strapped and head up high, Mary Pelkey is a name to remember and to thank.