I have been a fan of The Wizard of Oz since seeing the movie on TV as a child. It was also the first community theatre show I was involved with, as my oldest son had a small part in MAG-CT's production back in 1995.
So anytime I get the chance to see it on stage, I take it. That led me to last night's performance at Grace Christian School (1111 Adams Avenue in Huntington). I wasn't sure what to expect - to be honest, school performances can range from wonderful to rugged.
I'm happy to report that this performance... is wonderful!
The cast is loaded with talent, from Rachel Lykins as the plucky Dorothy, Isaac Perry as the high-stepping Scarecrow, Chris Harmony as the lovable Tin Man, Jacob Wood as the hilarious Cowardly Lion, Joshua Callahan as the humbug Wizard and Olivia Fosson as the luminous Glinda, and Jordan Callahan, delightfully evil as the Wicked Witch.
The huge cast is kept hopping, as almost everyone in the cast plays numerous roles throughout (backstage must be a flurry of costume changes)!
Oz is a deceptively big show - there are lots of characters, costumes, set changes, big songs, dance numbers, and special effects - it's a challenge for any theatre company.
Especially considering the size of the stage, Grace has worked miracles. The set changes are fast and efficient (how they manage to squeeze so much set into that small space is impressive), and the visuals are stunning. They must have a small army of tech crew working furiously to make it happen.
And let me just say, of all the stage productions of this show I've seen, the Wizard effect was the most impressive yet!
The show features a terrific orchestra, wonderful musical numbers and tons of energy and emotion! The sold-out crowd lunged to its feet at the end of the performance for a well-deserved standing ovation.
Kudos to director Angie Jolicoeur and her directing team for an impressive production, and to her tech crew for a flawless production - a herculean effort all around!
The show is highly recommended - but if you go, get there early. Tonight's show is the final performance, and it was standing room only last night! The final performance is tonight at 7 p.m. - don't miss it!