Theatre Mirror Reviews - "THE WIZARD OF OZ"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

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Note: Entire Contents Copyright 2017 by Tony Annicone



”THE WIZARD OF OZ”

Reviewed by Tony Annicone



We're off to the see the wizard in Shining Light Production's current musical, "The Wizard of Oz" at the Stadium Theatre. This classic tale of Dorothy and Toto's adventures in Oz has melted audiences hearts for almost seven decades with its unforgettable melodies and themes of family, home and the courage to pursue dreams. Adapted from L. Frank Baum's enduring children's story, the show follows a Kansas girl's journey over the rainbow where she meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Lion and other magical creatures. So audience members click your heels three times and join Shining Light Production's in traveling through the magical land of Oz to meet the Wizard to obtain your hearts' desires. Be sure to watch out for the Wicked Witch of the West and her winged monkeys as everyone explores this fantastic musical treat for the whole family. Flying by Foy is employed for the spectacular flying feats of the witch, Glinda and the monkeys. Director Becca Donald, music director, Brittney Lyn Dyer and choreographer, Justine Dee pick the most talented performers for this show.

Rebecca not only blocks the show beautifully but creates some picture postcard moments along the way. Justine's splendid dance numbers are stunning and include the Charleston, soft shoe, tap dance the Jitterbug and the munchkin dance numbers. Lyn conducts a five piece orchestra while playing the keyboards. She also taught the cast the beautiful and well known songs wonderfully. The cast is led by Alex Duprey as Dorothy. Her "Over the Rainbow" is breathtaking. It is brilliant rendition. Alex plays up the comic moments of the role but also stands up to Miss Gulch, the Wizard and the Wicked Witch. Her most touching and poignant moment occurs when she bids adieu to her three best friends in Oz. There isn't a dry eye in the house. This is the very heart of the show when Dorothy realizes everything she ever loved is back home in Kansas.

Dorothy's three friends are excellently played by three terrific performers. They capture every single comic moment with their clever repartee as well as tug at your heartstrings with the poignancy of the serious scenes, too. Adam Landry as the Scarecrow is lanky and limber as he falls down and jumps right back up with ease as his stuffing keeps falling out. His rubbery legs are a hoot, too. Adam shines in his song "If I Only Had A Brain", where he displays his baritone voice and does a marvelous dance during it. I have been reviewing Adam since he was Snoopy in "Charlie Brown" back in 2006.Troy Wheeler, who has a strong tenor voice, plays the kind hearted Tin Man who is lacking a heart. He moves about the stage with ease while dressed as the Tin Man. Troy handles the pathos of this character superbly. He shows his heart has always been there in his poignant scenes with Dorothy. His "If I Only Had a Heart" is a show stopper as he dances up a storm. The Three Apple Trees played by Ruth Young, Hannah Pease and Marissa Lombari sing it with him. I last reviewed 16 year old Troy in "Elf Jr." in October. Jason Denton plays the cowardly Lion who lacks courage. His boundless energy and acting prowess come through with his comic portrayal and in his song "If I Only Had the Nerve." Jason really shines in "King of the Forest" song, milking every possible laugh from it with his comical facial expressions and delivery. One of the best dances is "The Jitterbug" as Dorothy and her friends dance up a storm. The chemistry between Dorothy and her three friends is sensational to behold. I last reviewed Jason as Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables" at the Stadium.

Ashley Lopes is fabulous as the Wicked Witch of the West. She scares the crap out of you while leaving you rolling in the aisles with laughter. Ashley is a whirling dervish as she enters with a flourish and leaves just as quickly. Her evil taunts at Dorothy are priceless. Ashley is also terrific as the repulsive harridan, Miss Gulch. Her threatening to kill the beloved Toto is terrifying to the audience. Brilliant and well done portrayals. Another comic performer is Brian Wolfe Leonard as the Wizard. He makes this curmudgeon come to life and also plays Professor Marvel. His facial expressions and line deliveries are topnotch, too. Jessica Bartlett is wonderful as the magical good witch, Glinda. She displays her voice with the munchkins in "Come Out" and "You're Out of the Woods." She enters while flying above the cast. The children deliver fantastic performances as the munchkins with their singing and dancing prowess. Another comic performer is Tom Lavalle who displays his strong tenor voice in ""Merry Old Land of Oz" and also does a terrific tap dance during it. Dorothy's Uncle Henry who is played by Wladimir Petrinuw while his real life wife, Christine plays Aunt Em. His one liner insults to Miss Gulch are hilarious. So for a fun filled musical treat that the entire family can thoroughly enjoy, be sure to catch "The Wizard of Oz" at the Stadium Theatre before Dorothy escapes back to Kansas for good.

THE WIZARD OF OZ (10 to 19 February)
Shining Light Productions, Stadium Theatre, 28 Monument Square, Woonsocket, RI
1(401)762-4545 or www.stadiumtheatre.com




THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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