BWW Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ at Dutch Apple Dinner Theater
The Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre's current production of The Wizard of Oz is a show that is magical and fun for the whole family. Through a combination of both some old fashion singing and dancing and modern special effects, the show promises something for everyone.
Kalie Kaimaan stars as Dorothy, who plays the heroine as both smart and spunky. Kaimaan has a beautiful voice and gets to put it to good use in numbers such as the iconic, Over the Rainbow. Accompanying Dorothy along the way are Chris Duir, Christopher Russell, and Nicholas J. Pearson. They play the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion, respectively. Each did a nice job of being reminiscent of their movie counterparts while still putting their own mark on the roles.
Likewise, Emily Perzan has some fun with the role of the Wicked Witch, who plays her a little more befuddled and exasperated than we are used to seeing. Some of the scariness associated with the movie version was toned down, which was probably a good idea to appeal to the youngest in the audience. It was a refreshing change.
Kirk Lawrence plays the show's eponymous role. He slips back and forth as the intimidating Wizard and the less than confident, Professor Marvel with ease and skill.
Unlike the film, Auntie Em (Ashleigh Thompson) and Uncle Henry (Michael Weaver) also have counterparts in Oz. Thompson does double duty as Glinda the Good Witch, and Weaver steps in as the Palace Guard. Both make interesting and distinct choices between their two characters.
The main cast is supported by an energetic and talented large chorus who serve as various Munchkins, Oz Citizens, Crows, Trees, Jitterbugs, and more. Dancing was consistently sharp, and singing was consistently vibrant. A small criticism is that there was no effort in appearance or sound to shrink the Munchkins. A lot of the Munchkins towered over Dorothy, and that just seemed, noticeably, out of place.
The set design complimented the story, and utilized technology effectively. For example, the beginning Kansas portion utilized sepia-toned back projections of a dreary farmland. Monotoned costumes and set pieces further highlighted a dusty, boring existence for Dorothy; one which changes dramatically once she arrives on the other side of the rainbow.
In Oz, colors pop, sets shine, and costumes dazzle. For the most part, this is fun to experience and a lot to take in. However, there is a bit of a downside to all of this extreme brightness. During the Lion's King of the Forest number, stage lights bounced off of the mirrored palace doors and shot directly into my line of sight. As squinting became less effective, I eventually put my playbill in of my face to shield me from the extreme glare. It was a temporary inconvenience, but it was distracting enough to take me out of the story.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the great work of Murphy. Murphy is the sweet little dog who plays Toto. It is easy to see why Dorothy loves him so much.
The Wizard of Oz is the perfect way to introduce kids to live theater. Dutch Apple provides a good meal and a good show. Visit the theater's website, and take your family to experience some great entertainment.