Friday, May 15, 2015

review - THE WIZARD OF OZ - Don Bluth Front Row Theatre

Gary Caswell, Rick Davis, Emily McAtee and Allie Angus
Photo credit: Lori Kunzelman
highlights from Gil's review at Talkin' Broadway- (click link at bottom of review highlights to read complete review)

"As probably the most loved family movie ever made, it's not surprising that five different theatre companies across Phoenix are presenting stage versions of The Wizard of Oz this month. Not only is it an instantly recognizable title, but the songs from the film are extremely well known and the characters are iconic. The production at Don Bluth Front Row Theatre has a more than capable cast to bring these characters to life and is a perfect musical outing for families as well as anyone who loves the film. While the limited scenic abilities of the Don Bluth space require a bit of imagination to make some of the fantasy elements come to life, there are several nifty and inventive creative choices, and the intimacy of the small space provides a unique way to experience the emotional connection of the story of Dorothy and her trip to Oz....Director Don Bluth has assembled a talented cast that are skilled in making these characters their own while at the same time paying homage to the well-known film portrayals. Emily McAtee has a charming, sweet disposition, making for a quite touching Dorothy... Rick Davis' wide expressive eyes and confused looks and statements perfectly play into the fact that the Scarecrow doesn't have a brain. Davis also throws himself around the stage, hurling and flopping all over the place, just how a man made of straw would move...Derek Neumann's portrayal of the Tin Man is quite good, with an excellent singing voice and a soft-spoken disposition that works well. ...Gary Caswell is a hoot as the Lion, adding in a few very funny ad libs, and occasionally breaking the fourth wall to have a personal connection with the audience, who loved every time that happened. ...Virginia Olivieri and Stephanie Vlasich are both seamless in their portrayals. Olivieri is a gem as the Wicked Witch of the West, instilling both that role and her Kansas counterpart Almira Gultch with a deep sense of evil ..Olivieri relishes her characters' evil ways with glee..Vlasich brings the right amount of love and joy to the part of Glinda, the good witch... Joe Bousard gives a solid portrayal of both Professor Marvel...and the title character....Director Bluth adds some nice creative touches throughout...Corinne Hawkins' costumes are excellent...Don Bluth's production of The Wizard of Oz features a very talented cast and some fun creative decisions that work well with a small cast in a small space. While the small space means some aspects of this show can't be fully realized, and requires the audience to use their imagination, the intimacy of the small theatre allows the classic story to come to life literally right in front of your eyes, in a fun and unique way." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

For more information on this production, that runs through May 30th, click here

No comments:

Post a Comment