Fraser performers conduct play for local girl’s birthday

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published March 11, 2015

 Olivia Nielsen, of Clinton Township, skips with her friends during “We’re off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”

Olivia Nielsen, of Clinton Township, skips with her friends during “We’re off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”

Photo by Erin Sanchez


FRASER — Dorothy and her companions traveled down the yellow brick road to see the Wizard of Oz, and local students recently brought the fairy tale to reality for a young girl’s birthday party.

On Feb. 28 at a clubhouse at Rudgate Clinton, about 27 kids and 20 adults gathered to see a performance of “The Wizard of Oz” that was acted out by students in Fraser High School’s Performing Arts club.

The play and guests were all a part of Olivia’s 6th birthday celebration.

It was a rare opportunity for the club to branch out into the surrounding community, especially to perform at a birthday party. Jason Nielsen, Olivia’s father, said the idea gained steam when he and his wife, Casey, were introduced to the director of the high school club.

It became a real twist of fate as Jason and Casey had already planned to throw a birthday party with “The Wizard of Oz” theme, and they found out that Fraser performers were simultaneously doing their own rendition of the famed work.

From there, it all fell together.

The student who played the Cowardly Lion communicated back and forth with the Nielsen family, and it didn’t take long for him to get his peers on board. Then, the show was officially on.

Casey said the family’s day started early, gathering food, cake and balloons prior to setting up the location around 11 a.m. Guests started to arrive around 1 p.m. and engaged in conversation over food platters, and then the Fraser performers arrived around 2 p.m. and stayed for a little over an hour.

Once the performance began, it was like watching a movie come to life. Each character sang their signature song, the Wicked Witch gave her fright-filled speech, and they even performed the scene in which the main characters were introduced to the Cowardly Lion.

And it wasn’t just the kids who enjoyed the performance; the parents also found themselves living within the timeless tale, watching in awe as the young actors  entertained the group.

Jason said he talked to some parents at Olivia’s school and where she takes tap and hip hop dance classes, and they were all discussing how the program went off without a hitch. The interaction between the kids and performers was flawless.

“(The kids) were just in awe that this happened,” Jason said. “It’s hard to put into words, it was so remarkably awesome. I couldn’t have asked for a better performance.”

Casey echoed that sentiment.

“They kept those kids captivated, as well as the parents,” Casey said. “None of us wanted them to leave. It was incredible to watch. Every one of the parents made comments on how courteous the cast was and how wonderful they were. They weren’t rude or impatient. They talked with the kids, they made jokes with the kids, they did anything I asked of them and did it with a smile and eagerness.

“Their excitement made me more excited. It was an incredible experience.”

Olivia has seen the movie about a dozen times and received numerous toys that relate to the film — and Jason said she hasn’t put them down.

Casey called the Fraser high school performers special, making her daughter’s day with their kindness, selflessness and generosity. The performers exceeded all expectations and left a young girl with memories of a birthday she will never forget.

“It was just an amazing turnout,” Jason said. “It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime party. It was very awesome. I’m very pleased with how it turned out.