The show follows the familiar story of Dorothy and her dog Toto as they search for love and understanding. Along the way they encounter a forgetful Scarecrow, an empty-hearted Tin Man, and a fearful Lion. They venture off in search of the Wizard of Oz whom they believe will show them the path to what they lack. What they find instead, is their own individual paths and strengths that provide them with more than they had expected.
This production of The Wizard of Oz is a nicely orchestrated tale of adventure and intrigue told through a blend of stage performance, film and scrims images, and the clever use of props and set design. Director Jeremy Sams makes great use of Robert Jones' scenic design in getting his cast from Kansas to Oz. Revolving stages, fields of poppies, flying monkeys, the Emerald city, and a spiralling tornado all help to tell this remarkable tale.
Robert Jones' costume design is intricate and beautiful and brings the story from a monochromatic Kansas to a spectacularly colourful and sparkling Oz, but the real scene stealer of the night was Jacquelyn Piro Donovan who played the Wicked Witch of the West. Donovan provided a delicious mix of villainy and satire, hitting the marks just right and adding excitement to her scenes.
While Danielle Wade's voice is lovely, her projection is not that strong. The cast was fitted with microphones which amplified the dialogue nicely: unfortunately it did not suffice when it came to her singing. Having said that, those are huge shoes to fill, red or otherwise, and Wade does a remarkable job with the rest of the show.
The Wizard of Oz is definitely worth catching. The Vancouver shows host a line-up of brilliant, seasoned musicians who make up the live orchestra: alone worth the price of admission.
Click on Wizard for dates and venues.