note: entire contents copyright 2016 by Richard Pacheco
The well loved classic tale of the Wizard of Oz made so famous in the Judy Garland movie is brought vividly to life on stage at Theater by the Sea with a terrific cast full of zest and enthusiasm and some impressive sets and special effects. Yes, no doubt you have seen the movie dozens of times but this little venture onstage live is clever, fun and imaginative.
There is flying in the show but not too spectacular, but the portion where Dorothy's house heads skyward behind a scrim is vivid, vital and impressive. The effect is repeated again at the end with facial closeups that are more impressive. The entire world seems to tumble upside down on stage, all done very effectively. The entire production is sheer delight, fun for all ages.
Devon Parry is Dorothy, who must venture far away from home to learn to fully appropriate it as the source of her heart's desire. She is pert and perky in the role, a delightful transformation of girlish charm with a strong voice. She sings “Over the Rainbow” with skill and emotional nuance. She is excellent in the role.
Of course there are the usual familiars here, those farm folk who follow Dorothy into the land of Oz The Scarecrow (who is Hunk on the farm) played with flair by Stephen Perotvich. He is a perfect mixture of floppy and dedication as the scarecrow, He is a delight when he sings “If I Only Had a Brain” with style and aplomb.
Then there is Danny Rothman as the Tinman and on the farm known as Hickory. He too is fun in the role full of energy and sincerity. When he sings “If I Only Had a Heart” with Dorothy she shines with gusto and poise.
The last of the trio who accompanies Dorothy is the Cowardly Lion( known as Zeke on the farm) played with gusto and energy by Richard E. Waits. His duet with Dorothy, “If I Only Had Nerve” is sheer comic fun, thoroughly enjoyable.
There are more carryovers from Kansas and Dorothy’s life there. There is the cranky and nasty Elmira Gulch who transforms into the truly despicable and devious Wicked Witch of the West. And Tom Gleadow who is both Professor Marvel and the magnificent, all powerful, Wizard of Oz. Of course there is Uncle Henry who becomes the Winkie General in Oz.
Billy Sprague Jr. directs with vitality and a sense of sheer fun making it all a delight. The musical direction by Esther Zabinski is right on the mark.
The sets designed by Kyle Dixon are impressive like the wonderful house Dorothy lives in with her aunt and uncle. The show is well put together and a fun filled evening.
It is a fun filled romp that will intrigue the entire family.