Click your heels together three times and head into the Dayton Street Theatre in Aurora for a charming, if a bit uneven, two hours of entertaining …
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Click your heels together three times and head into the Dayton
Street Theatre in Aurora for a charming, if a bit uneven, two hours
of entertaining music, dance and storytelling.
If you have a child in tow who isn’t familiar with Frank L.
Baum’s “Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” visit your neighborhood library or
bookstore first and connect with Baum’s magic, because it is a
challenge to follow the classic tale as it unfolds onstage.
Expect an evening of live-wire, rocking music, some great voices
and a humorous retelling of that magical story that belongs in
everyone’s literary baggage.
Bernie Cardell has been inventive in his direction of “The Wiz,”
with music and lyrics by Charles Smalls, and Trent Hines and a live
band lend an extra layer of character to the production by the
recently formed Afterthought Theatre Company.
Cast skills are uneven and range from the very professional
Faith Angelise Goins as Dorothy, Mary Louise Lee as a stunning good
witch Glinda (Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s wife), who sings the
best-known song, “Believe” and big-voiced Stephanie Hancock as
deliciously evil witch Evilline, to some younger actors who had
somewhat less polish.
A standout was Terence Ellison as a double-jointed, absolutely
charming scarecrow. Dorothy’s other buddies were Curshion Jones as
the rusty Tin Man and T. J. Hogle as the cowardly lion. Little dog
Toto (Tia Amaral-Elkins) doesn’t get to go to Oz, but she sure can
yip as she races across the stage.
Bonnie McIntyre is a delightfully hippie-ish good witch
Addaperle and Shelley McMillon comes off convincingly as the
addlepated Wiz, dressed in emerald green, of course, and sporting
huge spectacles. Both are seasoned performers.
The Yellow Brick Road is a singing/dancing quartet and one sees
Munchkins, mice, fine crows, a winged monkey and other Oz
inhabitants, with some nicely designed choreography by by Kelly Van
Oosbree. Costumes, by Cindy Franke, ranged from wondrous to a bit
sketchy, due of course to budget limitations.
Smalls’ score is one I’d like to hear again and the cumulative
effect of the production sends one out smiling.
Just know the story first for full enjoyment!
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