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The Wizard of Oz


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The Wizard of Oz, Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. Like the Broadway touring production that played the Rosemont a year ago, this is no simple cloning of the beloved 1939 film. In addition to the familiar dialogue, the script employs excerpts from L. Frank Baum's original 1900 fantasy, a hilarious anachronism from The Lion King, and a few campy ad-libs. And we finally learn the story of the Tin Man's love life and what the Witch's Winkies think of their boring dirge. Though Marriott's two-act version eliminates Professor Marvel and the reprise of "Over the Rainbow," it restores two items stupidly omitted in the Broadway revival, the soaring coda of "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead" and the Emerald City beauty-parlor scene. Parts of Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg's wonderful score have been restored, including a duet between the Scarecrow and three mocking birds and "The Jitterbug," a swing dance unaccountably cut from the film.

Dominic Missimi's staging cleverly simulates the movie's special effects. The tornado is a swirl of laser circles and whirling debris, the poppies are showgirls with petals, and the apple trees form a sassy Andrews Sisters trio. Nancy Missimi's costumes are impeccable, and the performances are sterling. Anne Jacoby as Dorothy captures Judy Garland's vulnerable warble, and Marc Robin, Don Forston, and Stephen P. Full warmly depict her traveling companions. Mary Ernster's Glinda may not descend in a bubble but does reproduce Billie Burke's delicate twitter, Ronald Keaton is a very human wizard, and the irresistible, irascible Peggy Roeder creates a witch as midwestern as a Kansas crone with a broom. --Lawrence Bommer

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