The Wizard of Oz – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

If you’re skipping down the Yellow Brick Road and looking somewhere over the rainbow for blue birds, you know you’re not in Kansas anymore but rather on a unique and special journey to see that wonderful Wizard of Oz. Put Toto in his basket, fasten your ruby slippers, grab the hands of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Lion and the Tinman and prepare to travel to that magical land, in the Emerald City where the famous and powerful Oz resides.

L. Frank Baum penned the original book in 1900 and in 1939 MGM transformed it into a marvelous motion picture that has been viewed by billions. Stuffed with Munchkins, good and wicked witches, flying monkeys, a tornado, a Scarecrow with no brain, a Tin man with no heart and a Lion with no courage, “The Wizard of Oz” follows the journey of Dorothy and her little dog Toto as they travel to the Emerald City in search of the great and mysterious Oz. The magical movie is now celebrating 80 years as a family classic.

Called the “first totally American fantasy for children,” it will be sailing in a hot air balloon into the Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury one more weekend until Sunday, July 21 for a fabulous family experience courtesy of its wonderful community cast.

Madeleine Tommins is precious and precocious as the adventurous Dorothy who puts her darling dog Toto (a debut role for Mylo) into a basket and survives a tornado to land in a mystical land called Oz. In the midst of the storm, the Wicked Witch is killed by Dorothy’s house and Glinda the Good Witch (Cristin Marshall) awards Dorothy the prized ruby slippers. The Munchkins come to celebrate and before you can sing “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead” three times, Dorothy and Toto are skipping down the Yellow Brick Road to Oz, and meeting Justin Torres’ Scarecrow who desperately wants a brain, Carey Cannata’s Tinman who is aching for a heart and James Donohue’s Lion who is petitioning bravely for courage.

Their journey is fraught with dangers like the mean spirited Pam Amodio as the Wicked Witch of the West, who puts obstacles in their path like poppies, snowmen, Witch’s Winkies and Jitterbugs and even one Flying Monkey (Gene Bascetta). Helping the little girl who only wants to get home to Kansas are her Uncle Henry (Joe Stofko), Professor Marvel (Scott Kealey), the Mayor of Munchkin City (Colton Zawista) and the Coroner (Robert Melendez).

Other active cast members are Tina Vlamis, Sydney Yargeau, Nicole Thomas, Aubrie Dell’Agnese, Diane Delucia, Sharon Amundsen, Norma Jean Lombard, Ella Perrotti, Ashleyn Leigh Kish, Bryce Zalewski and Lily Thompson who sing and dance with joy. Double kudos go to Madeleine Tommins for her choreography as well as for Dorothy and to James Donohue who bravely served as director as well as the Lion.

For tickets ($25, kids $15, family 4 pack $70), call Seven Angels, 1 Plank Road, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at Performances are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Free ice cream for the kids at the evening shows.

Treat the children or grandchildren and your self to one of the most enduring, charming and a little scary musicals of all time.