Andrew Lloyd Weber's new production of THE WIZARD OF OZ is in Tucson thru March 2nd. Buy tickets and be whisked off to the Wonderful World of Oz for 2 1/2 hours.
If you appreciated the original film performance by Judy Garland, you will be charmed by 22-year-old Danielle Wade. She has the same breathy (and, if we're truly honest, slightly irritating) voice and endearing innocence. Wade nailed "Over The Rainbow" in the Opening Act. The audience wanted to join with her and "the happy little bluebirds" to fly away.
In truth, the play sticks very close to the movie storyline without much deviance. All of the same characters, songs, and lines make appearances. There were even people in the row behind me singing along with the lyrics.
My favorite musical number was "The Merry Old Land of Oz." Fun dance sequences and glittering green sets - plus a costume transformation for Dorothy - make it an energizing and memorable part of the show.
I also enjoyed the scenes when Dorothy initially meets the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion.
The downsides of this theatrical rendition are an overuse of video (understandable since it's hard to replicate a tornado on-stage, but somewhat boring nonetheless) and less-than-memorable new songs. There aren't many detours from the film in terms of dialogue or storyline, which makes it a shoe-in for diehard Ozians. People (like me) who have never felt particularly attached to Dorothy's plight or the plot, however, won't find anything new to grapple with or laugh about.
All in all, I much prefer the ingenuity and over-the-top style of WICKED. That said, I am always happy when a classic rolls into town - and this one is no exception. We especially recommend it for older children and teens who haven't been introduced to the cultural phenomenon. If you're a grandparent or parent, snag tickets for you and your children/grandchildren. It's sure to be a fun way to re-discover together that there's no place like home.