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BWW Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ at Argenta Community Theatre Performs to Sold out Shows

Wizard of Oz concludes the grand re-opening season for ACT

BWW Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ at Argenta Community Theatre Performs to Sold out Shows

To finish out the season of the grand re-opening (due to.... well, you know), everyone was off to see the Wizard at the Argenta Community Theater, 405 Main Street, in North Little Rock, April 27-May 7. Written by L. Frank Baum and directed by Vincent Insalaco, this WIZARD OF OZ was a modified version of the original that gave the show a fresher feel, but still held on to the theme that there was 'no place like home.'

THE WIZARD OF OZ is a story about Dorothy (Madisyn Sallas) and her dog Toto (Rizzo) who longs for an adventure 'somewhere over the rainbow,' gets caught in a tornado and lands her house on the Wicked Witch of the East. She discovers the land of the munchkins and meets Glinda, the Good Witch of the North (Jessica Mylonas), who puts the Ruby Slippers on Dorothy, making the Wicked Witch of the West (Shelly Hall) vengeful. Dorothy is sent to Oz down the yellow brick road and befriends the Scarecrow (Matthew Sewell), the Tinman (Caroline Perry),BWW Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ at Argenta Community Theatre Performs to Sold out Shows and the Lion (Brandon Nichols), who join her to meet the Wizard (Keith Norris) so she can go back to Kansas, and so they can get a brain, a heart, and some courage. The journey plays out, the witch is melted (or in some theories-dissolved), and Dorothy goes back home to her family and friends.

There were a few differences in this show than in other productions I've seen. In this presentation, Aunt Em doubled as Glinda, Uncle Henry (Tim Sopel) doubled as the guard of the Emerald City, and they took out the Jitterbug dance. Also, to move the tale along, Glinda came out with a book to read some of the story to the audience. So, for those that have this show embedded in their soul (like me), these changes gave us something new to experience.

The actors were wonderful as always. Sallas, 17-year-old junior in high school, was delightful as Dorothy; she glowed and held her own with the seasoned performers. Sewell, as the scarecrow, did as well as he could since he was losing his voice throughout the production. BWW Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ at Argenta Community Theatre Performs to Sold out Shows This was the first time I have seen the Tinman played by a woman, but Perry was amazing; I loved her tapdancing. But Nichols as the cowardly lion was perfect! I loved his character portrayal-his movements, his speech, his essence-it was all so entertaining. Mylonas had more personality to her Glinda and Aunt Em than I have seen in productions past (hard to describe-it's one of those 'had to be there' kind of things); Hall as the Wicked Witch was frightful, but in a good way; Sopel was endearing as the tender-hearted uncle and guard; and my associate critic (my 12-year-old son Johnny) thought Keith Norris was "so funny" using the filter as the Wizard of Oz.

Many people behind the scenes helped bring the magic to the stage. Shelly Hall led the costume crew to make the beautiful outfits (Glinda's dress was OMG fabulous!); Choreographer Brian Earles guided the cast through their fun dance numbers; Sara Cooke created inventive ways to use the stage with her set design; and music wizard MichaelBWW Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ at Argenta Community Theatre Performs to Sold out Shows Heavner provided the arrangements for the score that Music Director Jamie Stewart skillfully used to bring the show to life.

The talent at this theater is always so impressive, and I will take the liberty to call this season a success. I cannot wait for the next season to get underway. This summer ACT will host a summer program for the younger set which will produce MOANA JR, and then near the end of July MEMPHIS THE MUSICAL will bring a tale of fame and forbidden love. For more information, visit their website at argentacommunitytheater.org.

Photo Credit: Warren McCullough

BWW Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ at Argenta Community Theatre Performs to Sold out Shows

BWW Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ at Argenta Community Theatre Performs to Sold out Shows



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