Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Wizard of Oz"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2002 by Tony Annicone

"The Wizard of Oz"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The current show at City Nights Dinner Theatre is the musical version of "The Wizard of Oz". The well known story about Dorothy's trip from Kansas to Oz is wonderfully told by this talented 27 member cast. Under the direction and musical direction of Scott Morency, this tale is told in black and white in Kansas and in full color in Oz with the necessary pyrotechnic special effects to pull the stage version of this show off beautifully. Scott not only conducts a great sounding, orchestra but plays piano for the show,too.

The cast is lead by Nicole Davis as Dorothy. She is a sensational young actress, singer and dancer, who makes you forget about the movie version. Her voice is a crystal clear soprano which soars in all her numbers especially "Over The Rainbow". Nicole also shows a strong acting ability in this role and delivers all her lines perfectly. She leaves you in tears at the end of the show with the right poignancy after she realizes all she is searching for is really right at home. Brava on a job well done.

Dorothy's three friends are played by David Collins as the Scarecrow, Taylor Brennan as the Tin Man and Richard Bento as the Cowardly Lion. These three young men do an excellent job in their dual roles. They all sing and dance wonderfully in their authentic looking costumes excellently rendered by Tina Kenney. While they do a great job with the comic antics of their Oz characters, it is their warmth as the farmhands concerned about Dorothy's welfare at show's end which shows their acting strength. Director Morency wisely uses the "Jitterbug" number which was cut from the movie and choreographer, Jennifer Martirano and her dancers plus Nicole, David, Taylor and Richard, make it the best dance number of the evening.

Some of the other leading roles are handled very well, too. The mean Miss Gulch and Wicked Witch of the West is played by Debbie Banna. She does such a good job, you really end up hating her character by all the horrible things she says and does to Dorothy and her friends. The audience loved the fire she threw from her hands and her melting into the floor scene. Jenna Doolittle played Auntie Em and Glinda while Joe Gilmore played Uncle Henry, the Emerald City gatekeeper and a Jitter bug dancer. (Joe, Taylor Mitchell and Steve Michelsson play singing crows in the Scarecrow song and do an excellent harmony with it.) They both do wonderful jobs in their numerous portrayals, getting the essence of the characters through to the audience while Jay Miscia plays the Wizard and Professor Marvel, making them come to life with ease.

Rounding out this huge cast are some talented dancers and singers including fourteen children as Munchkins. The other cast members are Beth Banna, Matthew DaSilva, Patrick and Peter Saunders, Thomas and Victoria Pfanstiehl, David and Melissa Amaral, Stephanie Anderson, Krysta Brayer, Haley Brennan, Danielle Darling, Emily Maher, Steve Michelsson, Taylor Mitchell, Vanessa Paroline, Greg Patalano and Lauren Steingold. Great job.

Adding to the enjoyment of the evening is the absolutely delicious dinner prepared by Chef Brian Condron. The meal for this show is honey fried Chicken Breast which melts in your mouth. It is served with mashed potatoes and a medley of peas and carrots. The second entree is Italian meatballs with tomato sauce served on a bed of pasta with just the right flavor of spices. All the dinners include a garden salad with the chef's dressing, fresh rolls, coffee or tea, and assorted pastries for dessert.

So for an excellent evening of a dinner theatre meal and show, be sure you take off to see the wonderful, "Wizard of Oz".)

"The Wizard of Oz" (till 24 August)
CITY NIGHTS DINNER THEATRE
27 Exchange Street, PAWTUCKET, RHODE ISLAND
1 (401)723-6060

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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