This adaptation (by John Kane) hews very close to the movie - with something as beloved as The Wizard of Oz, you probably don't want to mess with it too much. The look of the show captures the iconic look of the movie, from the muted colors of the farm to the technicolor dream of Oz, which spills over and makes Kansas a bit more colorful upon Dorothy's return. The tornado and flying effects are nicely achieved by a combination of objects moving and flying above the stage on strings (or by magic?) and video effects depicting the dizzying eye of the tornado (scenic design by Scott Bradley, costume design by Helen Q. Huang, and flying effects by ZFX). One improvement from the movie is that these familiar and beloved songs sound even better when played live by the gorgeous eight-piece pit orchestra directed by Andrew Cooke.
|the friends before... (Dean Holt, Reed Sigmund, Traci|
Allen Shannon, and Bradley Greenwald, photo by Dan Norman)
|... and after (Reed Sigmund, Bradley Greenwald,|
Traci Allen Shannon, and Dean Holt, photo by Dan Norman)
As the Wicked Witch, Mary Fox has transformed her usually sweet and sunny disposition into something deliciously dark and evil, gleefully delighting in the chase and capture of Dorothy. Her death scene (which includes my favorite line, "what a world?!") is pretty fantastic, although I can't help but wish we could figure out a way to dispatch the enemy without killing her. I'd love to see the witch humanized a bit and brought to justice without violence, but I guess that's what Wicked is for.
The wonderful ensemble, most of whom pull double or triple duty, includes Janet Hanson as the weary Auntie Em and the benevolent and sweet-singing Glinda; Gerald Drake as the kindly con man in both realms; lots of young'uns and adults alike that are a joy to watch as munchkins, citizens of Oz, and flying monkeys or befurred guards; and last but not least, the most patient and compliant dog as the ever-present Toto (a role shared by two dogs Dusty and Nessa).
I almost wasn't going to see CTC's The Wizard of Oz again because I saw it just four years ago, and this is virtually the same production with a few cast changes. But like the movie, it's a show you can see over and over again because of the entertainment value, the comfort of the familiar story, and the warm heart at its center. If you feel the same, head to CTC between now and January 10, by yourself or with your friends, children, or grandparents.