BWW Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ at Thrasher-Horne Center
"There is no place like home". A quote that has rung true for generations, but for theatre fans even more so. The theater is an escape from the outside world. A place to enjoy the arts, to watch characters each and every person can relate to, and to experience incredible talent. The Wizard of Oz provided nothing less.
Dorothy Gale, played by Kalie Kaimann, was remarkable. I went into the performance questioning if anyone could live up to the near impossible bar Judy Garland had set in 1939. After hearing her rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" my question was answered. She most certainly could and would! Kaimann's voice portrayed the emotion and integrity that Dorothy's voice is meant to. From her extraordinary voice, to her incredible dance skills in each number, and not to mention her acting. Kaimann gave Dorothy the innocence and stubbornness that is to be portrayed of a young girl.
There are many notable characters that were incredibly talented. The Scarecrow, portrayed by Chris Duir, was extremely talented and resembled the Scarecrow impeccably. His singing and dance skills were top notch, not to mention his ability to dance while acting as if he had no bones! Duir's "If I Only Had a Brain" number was absolutely spectacular and portrayed his vocal and dancing skills greatly. The Tin Man, played by Christopher Russell, was extraordinary. I did not remember the Tin Man containing so much emotion in the original film, but he brought humor to the irony that he is missing his heart, but still feels sadness as if he has one. "If I Only Had a Heart" was great, but Russell's tap skills were unbelievable. Russell is a great talent and portrayed a man made of tin incredibly. Also, the Cowardly Lion, played by Victor Legarreta, brought so much humor to the story as the original character did. Just as the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion had so much irony behind the character. A lion is the "king of the jungle", but our Lion could hardly even let out a roar. Legarreta's portrayal of the Lion completed the iconic group that sets out to see the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A few other exceptional characters were the Wicked Witch of the West, who was much more sarcastic and witty in this production than the film (almost Elphaba-like. Elphaba being the name of the Wicked Witch of The West in Wicked). As well as, the Wizard of Oz, and of course Glinda the Good Witch of the North who reminds us that we "had the power within us all along".
The scenery is absolutely worth mentioning. The use of projector screens played a huge role in this musical. The screen determined whether the audience was viewing Kansas or Oz. Also, the use of costumes brought an excellent quality to the show. The beginning of the first act has very drab colors of black, brown, and grey, just as the original film. As Dorothy travels to Oz, a costume change is made to the iconic blue dress, and the use of colorful costumes and screens determines the new setting. In addition to the screens, the whole stage operation was incredible. From flying witches, monkeys, and even bubbles, to the stage design of The Emerald City, the movement and organization of it all was fantastic.
The performance completely exceeded all expectations I had. Each dance number, solo, or conflict appealed to every audience member. The Wizard of Oz was enjoyed by people of all ages, proving once again, that the story is engaging and brilliant 79 years later.