I didn't have super high expectations having gotten a ho hum review from a friend, but I was quite impressed and really enjoyed it. To begin, Danielle was a fantastic Dorothy, her voice is lovely and she brings the right mix of young girl trying to find her place in the world combined with the courage to handle her time in Oz. At times I was even reminded of Judy Garland. Sure Danielle probably has lots more to learn when it comes to acting, but what she knows works well in the role. Her attempt to walk across the stage during the tornado was very well done, you'd really think she was facing a wall of wind.
|Danielle as Dorothy in Kanses|
I have high praise for the music aspect as well. Webber didn't take anything major out that would be expected by fans of the movie (well ok "If I Were King of the Forest" could be considered major by some, but it was never my favourite song so I really didn't miss it), and the additional music and songs fit the style as well. The biggest new song would be the finale in Oz "Already Home", however I particularly liked what they did with Dorothy's meeting of Professor Marvel.
|Cedric Smith as Prof. Marvel|
The opening scenes in Kansas could have been slow and dull, but the under current of "Nobody Understands Me" where Dorothy laments her life and Toto's fate if Miss Gulch gets him, the farm hands try to get a generator (that looks like Maurice's invention from Beauty and the Beast), started, and Uncle Henry and Aunt Em worry about the chicks, kept things moving along at a good pace. The use of technology for the tornado was impressive. When the projected image of the funnel cloud filled the stage and items were shown swirling along for the ride then "hitting" the stage, they bounced back up! Someone thought to incorporate some physics! It added a certain degree of realism rather than having the items just disappear above or below the projector sight lines.
Oz had hints in their Kansas lines of what was to come. They were vague enough to not give anything away for people who weren't familiar with the movie, but were a smooth way of slipping in that little something extra for people who knew.
|With the Wizard|
|Ensemble in Emerald City|
There was the required flying by the monkeys and witches with mostly hidden cables. Dorothy got in on the action with her capture by said monkeys, and the harnessing was smooth and hidden with enough other action on the stage that attention was not focused on her awaiting the take-off.
The set for the Wicked Witch of the West's castle wasn't my favourite. The door to Oz was more
There will forever be comparisons between the MGM movie and any recreations of The Wizard of Oz story, but I think this one works well with the combination of old and new brought to life by a great Canadian cast!