Saturday, July 9, 2016

'Wizard of Oz' shines bright at Fisher Theatre

2-1-10 Originally published on by Tracy Heck


Friday night, the National Tour of Wizard of Oz, based on the Royal Shakespeare Company's celebration of the 70th anniversary of the 1939 MGM movie, made it's trimphant debut at Detroit's Fisher Theatre.
"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore!"
With these words, the musical kicked into high gear as the stage was transformed into the magical world of Oz for 2 1/2 hours.
The musical touched on all of the key aspects of the film from the tornado to the haunted forest to the Emerald City and included many of the classic songs including Over The Rainbow.
Cassie Okenka was fantastic in her portrayal of the tortured yet optimistic Dorothy and Adam Jepsen, Peter Gosik and Jesse Coleman were great in their roles of the Scarecrow, Tinman and Cowardly Lion.
The Wizard of Oz musical used a number of special effects and pyrotechnics to bring to life everything from the Tornado to the Wicked Witch of the West's death scene.  The musical also featured some wonderful costumes minus the Tinman, whose costume was a bit drab compared to the detailed Scarecrow and Lion.
The musical  included The Jitterbug, a scene that was left out of the original movie and also stood out for it's updated dialogue and little humorous nods at pop culture including a Lion King reference that had everyone laughing.
The Detroit production of the Wizard of Oz also included 12 local children from "Deborah's Stage Door" in Rochester Hills who earned roles as Munchkins.  They were chosen from auditions that took place on December 5 at the Fisher Theatre and shined in their performance of Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.
The production is directed by Nigel West and choreographed by Leigh Constantine.
Over the 70 years since the 1939 MGM movie The Wizard of Oz was first released, the movie has had a lasting impact on American culture.
Many classic lines have been referenced repeatedly by generations of viewers including the infamous "There's no place like home!"
Dorothy's iconic ruby slippers became a cultural icon and the Wicked Witch of the West's flying monkies remain one of the most frightening movie villains.
Ticket prices for the Detroit engagement of Wizard of Oz range from $24.00-$79.00 (inclusive of parking and facility fees) and are now on sale at the Fisher Theatre box office and all Ticketmaster locations.