On Stage: The Wizard Of Oz

Let me get this out up front: I’m not a big fan of “The Wizard of Oz.” I sat through it several times as a child but have not watched it since I became old enough to control the remote control.

I have nothing against it. I just find it silly and simple and, well, kinda childish. Even as a kid it was a little too sweet for me. I cheered the flying monkeys and the wicked witch.

Still, when it showed up on the Fox Theatre’s schedule I realized I had never seen a live performance before and maybe that would make all the difference. So last night I made the trek downtown to check out the show.

Danielle Wade as Dorothy, Jamie McKnight as Scarecrow, Lee MacDougall as Lion, Mike Jackson as Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz."  Original Toronto Cast. Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

Danielle Wade as Dorothy, Jamie McKnight as Scarecrow, Lee MacDougall as Lion, Mike Jackson as Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz.”
Original Toronto Cast. Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

There have been many versions of L. Frank Baum’s classic tale; the current one being a 2011 adaptation by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jeremy Sams. It includes the popular Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg songs from the 1939 film along with a handful of new songs by Webber and Tim Rice.

 

I didn’t find the new songs added much to the proceedings, although they did give one to the Wicked Witch which allowed Jacquelyn Piro Donovan to show off her pipes, which were impressive.

As for the rest of the show, it’s a perfectly passable stage version of the iconic movie. The costumes are colorful, the actors are fine (I especially liked Donovan and Jamie McKnight’s Scarecrow) although the Munchkins were a little tall, and the production makes good use of video and animation to bring to life the more fantastic elements of the story.

While I appreciate the talent and skill that went into the show it didn’t convert me to the cult of Oz. Last night’s crowd was filled with children and that’s a good thing, as I still feel “The Wizard of Oz” is more suited to a young audience.

Or maybe I just don’t have a heart.

“The Wizard of Oz” runs through May 18 at the Fox Theatre.  http://www.fabulousfox.com/

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