Scarecrow: Finding His Confidence

With a boyish grin, Kevin Clay signed up for an audition slot for Westfield High School's production of "The Wiz".

"I'm just hoping to get in. Being a freshmen and everything you know," he said. "There are 70 seniors, so there's competition."

Many of the 105 teenagers who are auditioning today have intensive acting and dance training. Some can sight read a musical score, a skill they acquired taking choral class and private music lessons.

Others, like Kevin, even have professional experience on stage.

Eager Scarecrows are sprawled all throughout the auditorium, practicing their moves. In the original "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," by L. Frank Baum, the two-day-old Scarecrow tells Dorothy that he is desperately seeking the brain he lacks.

Each teen knows the back story, and has an intricate philosophy about what motivates the charming, but ostensibly brainless character.

When Gangly is Good

With his tawny hair and long, gangly legs, 16-year-old Russell Wagoner is the incarnation of the Ozian character.

"The Scarecrow is all about having naïve fun. He's a hard character to develop. There are two main dimensions," he said. "You have to realize that you have to be smart but you have to pretend you can't realize it. So I have to be clumsy and puppy dog still new on his feet, but there's actually meaning to what the character says."

And with that, Wagoner – who told ABC News that it's critical to always stay in character – staggered awkwardly away, practicing his best Scarecrow walk.

Nate Peterson, vice president of his class and Lion-wannabe, says he would never audition for the role.

"His song is really high so he's sort of effeminate," he said. "The scarecrow is the closest to girls in terms of sexuality. That's why he's so close to Dorothy. He's the metrosexual and, as such, is going to get along better with the girl."

That effeminate quality may be attracting some unlikely candidates. Two girls are interested auditioning for the role.

"It's a guy, but it's my favorite role," Kyla Waitt said. "I think because the Scarecrow is kind of like me. Like falls around and I like to fall on the ground."

Brittany Martin, a bubbly senior with a zany sense of humor, said that she doesn't have a chance. "I really wanted to audition for the Scarecrow. But I think Mr. Pafumi wants to cast a male," she said, pirouetting away.

Choices, Choices

Garrett Henson, a veteran with the Westfield High School theater department, is auditioning with the Scarecrow song "I was Born on the Day Before Yesterday," but still has not decided which role he really wants.

"I'm auditioning for a whole bunch of parts. I really want the Lion, the Scarecrow, the Tinman or the Wizard. I want a lead," he said. "It's my senior year and it's a big thing for me so I just really want a lead this year."

Henson is considered to be one of the "triple threats" at Westfield High with a trio of talents: an exceptional singer, a great dancer and a quick study actor.

In a corner of the "black box," the main theater arts classroom that is now being used as a dance studio, Clay, 14, practiced his dance moves. He was hoping that his voice would give him the edge in this fierce competition.

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