Wizard of Oz The Musical is filled with Wow and Magic

I left Wizard of Oz The Musical with a huge smile on my face, wrapped up in the magic that can only be found over the rainbow. It was such a feel-good night at the theatre. You should go.

I probably wouldn’t have gone to see this show if I hadn’t had a kid to take. I had the delight of taking a young friend of mine who is in Kindergarten. It wasn’t until we were at the theatre that I learned she hadn’t seen the movie yet, although she had heard the story once, perhaps.

The scarecrow won her heart as her favorite character as he was “the funniest one.” As we walked out to the lobby during intermission, she said “The best was when he said “I’ve got an idea — no wait…it’s gone,” in the same inflection of the actor. Seeing the Wizard of Oz through the eyes of this precocious kid was a treat in itself.

What I was surprised by was how much I loved the musical. They pulled songs from the original movie (thankfully!) and did mix things up a bit (why Munchkins were regular sized, strange cult-like people, I’m not sure) but also added new songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. The new music helped bring out more interest and emotion in parts of the story and I was delighted to be able to understand all the lyrics as they sang – something not always achieved during musical theatre.

I didn’t think this was a show I would have enjoyed if I hadn’t had a kid to take with me, but I was wrong. This story is full of magic and nostalgia and the new numbers just add to that magic.

Danielle Wade as Dorothy, Mike Jackson as Tin Man and Jamie McKnight as Scarecrow. Photo By Cylla von Tiedemann.

Danielle Wade as Dorothy, Mike Jackson as Tin Man and Jamie McKnight as Scarecrow. Photo By Cylla von Tiedemann.

A few of my favorite things from the musical:

The actress playing Dorothy (Danielle Wade) has big shiny shoes to fill. But she nails it. It’s uncanny how much she sounds like Judy Garland in both speak and song – truly talented!

The scrim and lighting design are just fantastic. At times it felt like we were in a musical-meets-IMAX world – so much fun as an audience member! I won’t go into detail as this is a no-spoiler zone.

No, these aren’t the Winkies you’re used to. But they sure can dance! Once I got over missing their hats, I really enjoyed their scene and new number in the musical.

While a few are groaners, many of the added comedic lines that have been added (some making fun of “what the heck?!” moments in the movie we all recognize) had the whole audience laughing together.

Glinda’s dress (it is even more sparkly than you can imagine)!

If I could change anything about the show, I would redo Glinda and the Wicked Witches wigs (except for the one scene WW’s is let down…or rather up), help bring more heart out of the actor playing the Lion and (for Oz’s sake!) stop that smoke machine from covering up Dorothy’s ruby slippers in the scene where she clicks them together three times. WHY CAN’T WE SEE THE SHOES? THIS IS THEIR BIG MOMENT, WEBBER!

If the show was here longer, I would definitely make a point to bring my nieces and any other friends who loved Wizard of Oz. It’s only here for a few more days so follow that yellow brick road to The Paramount. Tickets here. 

Disclaimer: Paramount Theatre provided me with press tickets to see the show. As always, free doesn’t change my opinion. Or my kindergartener friend’s opinions who gushed all the way home to her dad about the show and again to her mom as soon as she was home.  She may be my biggest fan now. Thanks Paramount Theatre.

Disclaimer to my nieces (if they read this in the future): You weren’t free to see this show during the run dates or else of course I would have brought you too. I hope you get to meet my kindergartener friend soon and her little sister – I have a feeling you will all get along very well.

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