Saturday, December 7, 2013

Review of Wizard of Oz at The Ordway in St. Paul, MN

Quote of the Day:  Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore. a favorite quote from The Wizard of Oz.

Krista, I've a feeling we're not in Minnesota anymore. In fact, we were transported to the merry old land of Oz at the Ordway Performing Arts Center, Friday night, Dec. 6, 2013. The magical winds of a fantastic theatrical production swept us out of the cold and away from our troubles that melted like lemon drops despite the subzero temperatures outside. 


Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz. Description: Company in The Land of Oz. Original Toronto Cast. Photo Credit: Cylla Von Tiedemann

Danielle Wade is a delightful Dorothy. When she sang, "Somewhere over the Rainbow," chills ran down by arms, and her final note of why, oh why can't I... floated up into the rafters and hung there until Christmas. I had tears in my eyes from the beauty and emotional electricity of the performance. The Wizard of Oz stage production gives us exactly what we came to see and hear - the beloved characters, the scary witch, flying monkeys, exciting dancers, heartfelt lines, the journey, the music, the visual effects. I could go on and on. With the use of scrims, film, technology and phenomenal actors, I felt like we were part of the show, blending the old movie into the new theatrical production. During the tornado scene the projection seemed to be in 3D as we were pulled into the whirlwind and landed with a flash of light in Oz. The little girls in front of me weren't the only ones to gasp and say, "Oh, look at that!" I found myself tapping Krista on the shoulder and whispering that I had goosebumps, sighing at the amazing music and theatrics to wondering how many times the dancers whacked each other the head while rehearsing the dance with the sticks. I loved that number, the rhythm and dancing set my heart racing.


Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz. Description: Jamie McKnight as Scarecrow. Original Toronto Cast. Photo Credit: Cylla Von Tiedemann

Watching this beloved film classic come to life on stage is a fantastical experience. It's like you could step inside the film itself and become part of the show. The way they used the projection and scrims created the effect of walking through the woods, twirling in the tornado, interacting with the story, and journeying along with Dorothy and her pals. 

The most impressive actor on stage was Toto. He got his own standing ovation. How does the trainer, William Berloni, get him to bark on cue, enter and exit, and be such a steady part of the show? I looked at his website, Theatrical Animals, and learned that he uses rescue dogs. For more information on him, his talented furry superstars, and his efforts to help rescue animals, check out his site.

The Wizard of Oz is on its North America Tour. Check to see if they'll be in your neighborhood. This is the best show I've ever seen, and what makes it even more amazing is how they could bring the classic film to life and give us even more of the magic as we journey to Oz and back with Dorothy and Toto. 

I have fun photos and more to tell you about our freezing cold day in our state's capital. I'll save that for a later post. Bring the kids to Wizard of Oz at the OrdwayDec. 4-29, 2013, or go with a great date. Thank you, Ordway, for bringing this fantastic show to St. Paul. Thank you, cast, crew, and creative team of this production. Your talents are "somewhere over the rainbow."

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt:  What are your favorite lines, characters, or scenes from The Wizard of Oz?

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