An evil witch, a good witch, a girl from Kansas, a talking scarecrow, a singing tin man, and a cowardly lion – these are all characters we are familiar with from The Wizard of Oz. The characters all have a special place in our memories whether it is from watching the film on television and being mesmerized by the transition of the movie from black and white to color or reading the wonderful books by L. Frank Baum. The Wizard of Oz is a timeless story, and children and adults alike enjoy the story of good versus evil. The Gretna Theatre does not disappoint in bringing this classic to life on stage and people of all ages will enjoy the adventure of Dorothy and her friends in the land of Oz in The Wizard of Oz.
The Wizard of Oz is based on the book The Wonderful Wizard of OZ written in 1900 by L. Frank Baum. The 1939 film is also based on the same book, and is one of the best-known films of all time. In 1956, yearly telecasts of the film began and made this a yearly tradition to reintroduce the film to the public. Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg wrote the music and lyrics for The Wizard of Oz. Sam Viverito directs the current production at Gretna Theatre, and people of all ages will delight in this production.
Anne Markt stars as Dorothy Gale, and she is perfect in this role. She is innocent and kind, and she has a strong voice that makes “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” one of the best songs in the show. Anita Lewis plays Aunt Em and Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. She is charming and adds the right amount of sweetness to this role. Patrick Pevehouse portrays the Scarecrow and he is animated, as well as he has a strong voice. Pevehouse also adds some humor to this role, and he was entertaining to watch on stage throughout the show. Tim Osgood plays the Tin Man, and he does not stray much from the original movie character. However, he is talented and his song “If I Only Had a Heart” is delightful. James Daniel Cella plays the Cowardly Lion, and he makes the character his own. He adds his own sense of humor, and his song “King of the Forest” is amazing. Katherine Day plays the Wicked Witch of the West and her cackle and motions reminded me of Margaret Hamilton throughout the entire show. Day is fantastic as the Wicked Witch. Jef Canter portrays Professor Marvel/Wizard of Oz. He adds humor in his scenes as the Professor, and is flawless in his role of the Wizard. To round out this cast is Larry Sheaf as Uncle Henry and the City Guard. Sheaf adds a combination of sternness and gentleness to Uncle Henry which makes him perfect for this role. He also adds a sense of humor to the City Guard, and his vocals in “Merry Old Land of Oz” were magnificent. “Merry Old Land of Oz” was one of the best numbers of the show, it was energetic, entertaining, and enchanting.
Another group of actors I need to mention are the munchkins. They were excellent in the show. My personal favorite of the group were the Lollipop Guild. The costumes of the munchkins were the best of the show. They were bright and colorful and gave the feel of the transition to a magical place. The costume designers for The Wizard of Oz are Janell Berte and Beth Dunkelberger. Additionally, Kyle Dixon is the scenic designer who designed this magnificent set. In addition, Louis Goldberg serves as the musical director.
Gretna Theatre’s production of The Wizard of Oz is entertaining and wonderful. Anyone who has a adoration for the movie should definitely see this musical live on stage. This show is full of special effects, charm, and yes, there is even a cute dog. Do not miss The Wizard of Oz at Gretna Theatre. This show runs through August 3, 2013. For more information and tickets visit their website at www.gretnatheatre.com or call the box office at 717-964-3627.
Final Thought: Anyone who loves the books or movie should definitely see The Wizard of Oz on stage. The Gretna Theatre production of this show is enjoyable and entertaining.
Kelli Curtin is editor and writer for theatresensation.com. In addition, she writes for the online sites broadwayworld.com and figlancaster.com and is a freelance writer. Kelli is excited to share her passion about theatre and the arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on twitter @theatrescribe and on Facebook/theatresensation
Originally seen on the Broadway World Central Pa. site on July 29, 2013.