The Wizard of Oz

Rated 5.0 Close your eyes, click your heels and repeat, “There’s no place like Oz. There’s no place like Oz.” Then, open your eyes and fly over to the Music Circus for its summer-season opener, a really magical production of The Wizard of Oz. This is an Oz for the purist, although it’s not the Oz of L. Frank Baum’s books. This production is for the fanatical fans of the 1939 MGM film starring Judy Garland. It’s a wonderful replicate of the movie, down to the familiar costumes, the memorable dialogue, the magical characters and, most importantly, the songs and music we all know by heart.

Every song brings a surge of recognition: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “Ding-dong! The Witch is Dead” and “The Merry Old Land of Oz.” And it has everything else we’ve come to associate with the movie: the black-and-white farm scene, the wild tornado, dancing munchkins, scary apple trees, flying monkeys, a cackling (and melting) wicked witch, a brave Dorothy, a wobbly-kneed Scarecrow, a creaky Tin Man and a scaredy-cat Lion. To top it off, there’s the amazing Toto—a real dog who is onstage the entire production. Toto sits quietly, scampers on cue and even reveals the wizard with a pull of the curtain.

That’s not to diminish the talents of the human cast and crew members who deliver a show full of heart and who have the courage to tackle a classic with fresh enthusiasm. Director James Rocco has the brains to give us the familiar while making it new and innovating—including the “Jitterbug” number. It was cut from the original movie, but it’s a showstopper in this thoroughly entertaining production.