Review: ‘The Wizard of Oz’ flawlessly arrives at Gammage

Few stories have been as integral to American popular culture as “The Wizard of Oz.”

The timeless tale of Dorothy’s journey to Emerald City is one of fortitude and friendship and the musical adaptation captures it perfectly. Opening last night at ASU Gammage, “The Wizard of Oz” proved to be just as enchanting as the famous film.

Toto, who has long been immortalized, stole the show. Prompting a collective, “aww,” from the audience as he made his first appearance, the little dog was an audience favorite and heart of the musical.

 

 

Dorothy (Danielle Wade) brought unsurpassable charisma to the stage. Wade demonstrated her vocal power early. In a goosebump-inducing rendition of “Over the Rainbow,” she gave a breathtaking finish to the classic song, while holding Toto closely, earning the admiration of the audience. Wade’s buoyant portrayal of Dorothy was riveting.

The technology used was one of the many unexpected surprises of the night. Video projectors enveloped the audience along for the tornado ride to Munchkin Land. Glinda, the Good Witch of the North (Robin Evan Willis), descended on stage in a kaleidoscope of colors, including her blue hair and shimmering gown. The vibrant rainbow and yellow brick road did not disappoint with their lustrousness.

The Tin Man (Mike Jackson), Lion (Lee MacDougall) and Scarecrow (Jamie McKnight) continuously delivered one-liners throughout the night. The exquisiteness of the costuming was particularly noticeable with Dorothy’s friends. The self-aggrandizing Wicked Witch of the West (Jacquelyn Piro Donovan) was delightfully green and shined in her role which included the musical number “Red Shoes Blues,” written exclusively for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaptation.

The Wizard (Jay Brazeau) gave an outstanding performance as the mighty wizard. He brought a new dynamic to the beloved character by singing “Bring Me the Broomstick,” which was added just for Webber’s musical. His strong vocals were a shinning moment of the night and a wonderful addition to the story.

The cast received a well-deserved standing ovation, with the biggest applause of the night going to Toto. The flawless musical gave new life to “The Wizard of Oz,” combining the original elements of the classic film with fresh songs, costumes and technology for a remarkable experience that succeeded in transporting the audience to Oz.

“The Wizard of Oz” is playing at ASU Gammage until Feb. 9 and student rush tickets are available. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Gammage box office.

Reach the reporter at jurgiles@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @MrsMathers94