The Classic ‘Wizard of Oz’ Falls Short at The Fox

The Fabulous Fox was host to one of the most beloved stories of all time. “The Wizard of Oz” played to a packed house of young and old, but all young at heart. Unfortunately, the performance didn’t live up to the timeless magic that follows the story.

How it all started.

Since 1900, people have loved, admired, and obsessed about L. Frank Baum‘s “Wizard of Oz”. The first stage version of the classic children’s book was in 1902 and was a musical comedy. Baum teamed up with Paul Tietjens and A. Baldwin Sloane to provide the music and lyrics for the show. The 1939 MGM film was the true turning point for what would become one of the most successful movies in cinematic history. Starring Judy Garland, the role of Dorothy became a legend and an icon.

Was it worth it?

The show that was staged at the beautiful Fox Theatre was not the spectacular event that was expected from such a classic and beloved musical. While Kalie Kaimann gave a convincing portrayal of Dorothy Gale, her ability to perform the ever-popular “Over the Rainbow” was less than impressive.

While the sets, sound and lighting designs were nothing special, the costuming was very well done. John P White provided costume coordination and his use of neutral colors in the Kansas scenes to the vibrant and colorful outfits in Oz was ingenious.

There were a few cast members that did stand out from the overall mediocre performance. The two witches were very much enjoyable. Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, was played by Ashleigh Thompson.  Her light and airy performance paid homage to the lovable witch that comes to Dorothy’s aide.  Emily Perzan took on one of the most infamous villains of all time, the Wicked Witch of the West. She played up the wicked just right but provided a much needed comic relief.

Supporting star takes the spotlight.

The real star of the show was found in the role of the Cowardly Lion. Played by Victor Legarreta, the Lion came to life and stole the show. From the performance of “If I Were King of the Forest” to the tail pulling humor that makes the Lion cowardly, Legarreta played up the role and lived up to the legendary character.

While the Wizard was well performed by Kirk Lawrence, the technical aspect of bringing the Wizard to life was less than magical. By simply dropping a flat screen down and providing a recording of the wizard, it really took away from the magical experience of meeting the Wizard for the first time.

Local Talent travels with the pros.

The show also featured a local talent, Troy Coultas. He has been a part of the traveling production since October and plays Nikko The Flying Monkey, the coroner, and an Ozian. When he was performing in St. Louis, he proved to be a force to be reckoned with by winning two Arts for Life Awards in 2013. The first for Best Featured Youth Dancer in “White Christmas. The second for taking the lead and winning Best Youth Actor in a Leading Role for “Oliver!” both of which were performed at The Young People’s Theatre.

The traveling tour was directed by Dean Sobon with musical direction by Lizzie Webb. Amy Marie McCleary was the choreographer of the show and was another high point of the show.

While I can’t speak for the remaining performances, the opening night could have been a lot better. Did you make it to the show? Tell us what you thought. Use the comment section below and let’s strike up a conversation.

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