Scarborough Music Theatre garnered a much-deserved standing ovation for its spirited and magical performance of The Wizard of Oz.
This show is a true visual extravaganza, with a multitude of whimsical costumes, moveable set pieces, great lighting and creative audio visual effects.
Written by L. Frank Baum with music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, The Wizard of Oz is an ambitious musical to stage with so many scene changes, characters, costumes and details to be portrayed.
But Scarborough Music Theatre does a fantastic job of bringing Kansas, Munchkinland and Oz to life; and all the fun characters that inhabit them.
Much of the cast played multiple characters and donned several costumes each to accomplish this task.
This story, for those who may not know, is about a little girl named Dorothy (Sarah Davis) who lives on a farm in Kansas with her Aunt Em (Kerri Henman), Uncle Henry (Jim Hyslop and her little dog Toto (played by a real dog named Toto).
After a fight with her aunt and uncle, Dorothy runs away with Toto and gets swept away in a storm, landing in Munchkinland. Here, Dorothy encounters all kinds of new friends, foes and adventure. But despite enjoying this magical land she wants to go home and must embark on a dangerous quest to see the Wizard of Oz to get there.
On her way she meets the Scarecrow (Craig Estrella), the Tin Woodman (Chris White), and the Cowardly Lion (Jason Silzer). They want a brain, a heart and courage respectively, so they decide to accompany Dorothy on her journey to Oz.
With the help of the Good Witch of the East (Jan Harvey) and each other, the foursome tackle all their fears and the obstacles thrown their way by the Wicked Witch of the West (Lorene Stanwick), to see the Wizard of Oz (Chris Hardess).
There is a reason this endearing show is a beloved classic, and from the moment the show begins there’s never a shortage of things to engage the audience. There are munchkins and winkies, snow fairies and elves, fighting trees and winged monkeys, exactly like an enchanted fairytale.
Many of these characters are played by adorable kids, too many to mention, but individually and as an ensemble, this cast is well-polished and thoroughly entertaining. Not to mention the dogs and the catchy songs like We’re Off to See the Wizard and Over the Rainbow, this show can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike.
Davis plays her role of Dorothy with the perfect combination of talent and cuteness. It’s too bad her microphone made it so you couldn’t hear her clearly some of the time, because she has a beautiful singing voice, especially in her solo, Over the Rainbow.
The comic trio of the Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow were amazing. Their characters are funny for kids, but with their double entendres, great for adults as well. Their costumes were wonderful and they are a talented and entertaining trio.
Stanwick is amazingly wicked as the Witch of the West and not only is she believable and fun to watch, but you can see she is having a lot of fun with her role. Watch out for her “melting” scene, you won’t be disappointed!
This cast, and the people who helped to bring this hugely ambitious show to life, are too many to mention, but hats off to all for a job well done. Whether you know and love this show, or have never seen it, take your whole family and enjoy the amazing journey.
The Wizard of Oz runs until Nov. 17, 8 p.m., at the Scarborough Village Theatre, 3600 Kingston Rd. Regular tickets are $25. There is a 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 10, a sing-along where people are encouraged to dress as their favourite character. For tickets call 416-267-9292 or visit www.theatrescarborough.com