The Wizard of Oz is one of those indelible stories that most of us can recount by heart. And in the case of the Children's Theatre Company's latest production, they've decided not to mess with perfection.
This show stays true to the original source material, and critics think that's just fine.
Scroll down to read excerpts of reviews; click on the links to read them in full.
Maeve Moynihan, Max Wojtanowicz and Dean Holt in The Wizard Of Oz
Photo by Dan Norman
...this Oz works, and works well. Everyone gasped when Miss Gulch kidnaped brave Toto; adored the dancing quartet (Dorothy with the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion); hissed at the Wicked Witch (that long green nose!); jumped when the booming voice of Oz filled the theater. At the end of the show I heard moist weeping and felt rapt attention. The latter is specially meaningful, as this play is on the long side for children's theater. The audience was entranced.
Iconic images spill forth as is from a dream: a tornado sends a cow flying over the plains, Dorothy and her companions dance down the yellow brick road, and Glinda (Janet Hanson) and the Wicked Witch (Jennifer Blagen) arrive eye-poppingly.
But "Oz" is much more than a live version of the film. The cast transports us to a world of mystery and color. Moynihan shows that she fits Dorothy's ruby slippers, investing the Kansas girl caught up in a tornado with sweet innocence. When she sings the standard, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," she shows her dreamy heart.
The Wizard of Oz at Children's Theatre Company
Photo by Dan Norman
This production's somewhat lower wattage allows for clearer storytelling, even if that clarity comes at the expense of some draggy moments, particularly after intermission.
Maeve Coleen Moynihan - who made her CTC debut as a munchkin in the theater's 2002 "Oz" - caps her youth-performer career at the theater by playing Dorothy, and she finds some interesting edges to the role. With her round face and big eyes, she looks every bit the innocent, but she's not afraid to let Dorothy's bratty, petulant side bleed through a little.
Full of humor and heart, this long-running show tells the familiar tale of a girl who suddenly finds herself in the colorful world of Oz. And although it is ostensibly for children, its strong effects and cast - wonderful down to the last munchkin - make it capable of entertaining all ages.
...Overall, The Wizard of Oz is a great, family-friendly production that anyone - the young and the young-at-heart - can enjoy this holiday season. Just like Dorothy, you'll be sure to take a little magic home with you.
The Wizard of Oz runs through January 8 at the Children's Theatre Company.
Have you seen The Wizard of Oz at CTC? If so, what did you think? Share your review in the comments section.
My boys and I saw The Wizard of Oz today. We LOVED it. It was the best musical we've seen to date. My 8 year old wants to go back to watch it again, and I think I will take him!