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Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ at Alhambra Theatre And Dining

The production runs now through July 31st

Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ  at Alhambra Theatre And Dining

The cult classic "Wizard of Oz" opened at the Alhambra Theatre and Dining on Friday night, and if you are looking for a sweet and nostalgic performance to distract you from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this is the show to attend. The musical follows Dorothy Gale, played by Sofia Smith, as she curiously ends up in the land of Oz. Along the way she meets some curious friends, like the Scarecrow (Christopher Michael Milligan), the Tin Man (Rodney Holmes), and the Cowardly Lion (Nicholas Barnes). The audience appreciates her adventure that ultimately ends in the lesson "There is no place like home." Audiences will enjoy popular numbers such as "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", "We're Off to See the Wizard", and "The Merry Old Land of Oz."

Dorothy Gale (Smith) made her Alhambra debut in this timeless show, and she delivered! I was blown away by her talent, specifically in "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." My first thought was "Wow, I am sure Judy Garland would be proud." Smith's chemistry with the legendary group was perfect! It was evident she could make up for the portions the others were missing, such as smarts, love, and courage. The audience could also tell how loved she was by the group because no matter what happened they wanted to protect Dorothy to get her back to Kansas.

The first character Dorothy meets on her journey down the yellow brick road is the Scarecrow (Milligan). Milligan did the character justice. The way Milligan played the scarecrow made me realize that the Scarecrow really did have "brains" the whole time, he just needed to find out for himself. He came up with brilliant ideas, like dressing up in a Winkie's uniform to blend in and rescue Dorothy from the Wicked Witch of the West (Alexia Adcock-Stanford). The next character met on the yellow brick road is the Tin Man (Holmes). I'm not sure if I just never noticed it in the movie, or if this was Holmes fabulous interpretation of the character, but I finally realized how much emotion the Tin Man truly had the whole time. Any minor inconvenience or bump in the road, the Tin Man shed tears and risked rusting himself. The last character we meet is the Cowardly Lion (Barnes). I wouldn't say he secretly had courage the whole time, but he played cowardly until the very end. However, he did it perfectly. Every action reminded me of Bert Lahr, who played the Cowardly Lion in the 1939 movie.

Our witches portrayed good and evil beautifully. Glinda the Good Witch of the North (Jennifer Medure) had the most amazing voice, both speaking and singing for this part. When Medure said "You have always had the power, my dear. You just had to learn it for yourself." I believed even I had the power to do anything I set my mind to. Now, if you are a die hard "Wicked" fan like me, it is hard to view the Wicked Witch of the West as pure evil. However, my feelings that the Wicked Witch is simply complicated, Adcock-Stanford did a wonderful job portraying the Margaret Hamilton character, especially in her dramatic melting scene.

The entire ensemble was incredibly entertaining. I have seen the stage musical once before, but I loved the artistic liberty the Alhambra took in making the tornado scene a black light affair. The Jitterbug scene was also a memorable black light scene, that was not only entertaining due to the black light, but the dancing was incredible in this scene. Other memorable scenes were the Munchkins meeting and thanking Dorothy after she drops a house on the Wicked Witch of the East, as well as the ensemble scene in "Merry Old Land of Oz."

So, follow the yellow brick road to the Land of Oz at Alhambra Theatre and Dining. It's a great treat for the whole family! "The Wizard of Oz" will be playing at the Alhambra Theatre and Dining now through July 31st.




From This Author - Jordan Higginbotham

Jordan is a graduate student and dietetic intern. Theater is her artistic escape from the world of science and dietetics. Jordan has enjoyed being the Jacksonville Regional Contributor for... (read more about this author)


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