BWW Review: Hale Centre Theatre Stages a Wonderful THE WIZARD OF OZ
The wonderful THE WIZARD OF OZ on Hale Centre Theatre's Centre Stage is a spectacle that pays tribute to the classic movie while standing in its own ruby slippers.
THE WIZARD OF OZ (music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg) was adapted by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company from the 1939 motion picture based on L. Frank Baum's novel. When Dorothy's house is carried by a cyclone from Kansas to the magical land of Oz, she travels to see the Wizard in the hopes that he'll be able to help her find a way back home.
Well known recording artist Lexi Walker (single cast, understudied by Ava Hoekstra) plays Dorothy with her signature rich singing voice, a speaking voice that pays homage to Judy Garland without being a caricature, and a lot of spunk.
Also memorable are the good and bad witches, Carolyn Hartvigsen as the Wicked Witch of the West/Almira Gulch (double cast with Sharon Kenison) and Eden Benson as Glinda the Good Witch/Aunt Em (double cast with Bailee Brinkerhoff Morris).
Jordan Dahl as the Scarecrow (double cast with Kooper Campbell), Preston Taylor as the Tinman (double cast with Addison Welch), and Dustin Bolt as the Cowardly Lion (double cast with Scott Rollins) round out the leading cast.
Just as in the Technicolor film, color plays a significant role in this production, from the vivid projections and lighting by Josh Roberts to the creative costumes by Jennifer Stapley Taylor and the set design by Kacey Udy that ties it all together.
There is plenty of eye-popping spectacle, including vibrant new laser lights and impressive cyclone effects, as well as a number of flying characters and objects, including monkeys, witches, a house, a balloon, and even an airplane.
Some elements of this adaptation are quite theatrical in nature, and little touches from the original novel are a welcome surprise, but the production still faithfully reproduces the beloved film on the stage in a way that will delight young and old.
THE WIZARD OF OZ plays through February 2, 2019. For tickets, call the box office at 801-984-9000 or visit www.hct.org.
Photo Credit: Lexi Walker (Dorothy)