The Wizard of Oz
There’s no place like home—Dorothy Gale
I have been in love with the movie “The Wizard of Oz” since I first saw it at age 10 on the CBS station. The movie managed to continue coming yearly until a few years ago, when it switched to the TNT channel. There’s something so beautiful and pure about the story of a girl and her cute dog trying to get back home to Kansas from the Emerald City in the wonderful world of Oz.
In the opening, Dorothy (a wonderful Danielle Wade) is hunting frantically for her dog Toto (Terry and Loki) Even the dog had an understudy. Only in Hollywood! The evil Miss Gulch ((Jacquelyn Piro Donovan) does a great job as the evil neighbor and The Wicked Witch of the West threatens to have Toto put to sleep. “I’ll get you and your little dog of yours,” she cackles to Dorothy. She already feels out of place even with a room full of relatives and friends who support her but fondly tease her. It’s here that Wade shows off her superb vocal abilities, beginning with “Nobody Understands Me” to the memorable “Over the Rainbow.” It’s the latter that will forever be connected with the character Dorothy and the actress Garland. Miss Gulch just won’t let go so Dorothy leaves her Auntie Em (Charlote Moore) and Uncle Henry (Larry Mannell) and off she goes to find a place called home.
She meets a long list of characters on her journey. Beginning with the colorful junk seller Professor Marvel (Cedric Smith), the Scarecrow (Jamie McKnight) who wants to become intelligent “If I Only Had a Brain,” which is hard to do when you’re made of straw. The Tin Man (Mike Jackson) is in desperate need to feel “If I Only Had a Heart” and, of course, the cowardly Lion (Lee MacDougall) seeking courage “If I Only Had the Nerve
The happy foursome are “Off to See the Wizard” to ask for their individual requests. Along the way the meet many obstacles to reach the Wizard (again the talented Cedric Smith). This timeless story never gets old. Director Jeremy Sams vision of the story is more polished and bigger than life. Scenic and costume designer Robert Jones is a genius with the high-end costumes and his grandiose sets. Everything is beautifully lit thanks to lighting designer Hugh Vanstone. Arlene Phillips’ choreography is perfectly organized and graceful. She wants to make you jump from your seat and join the fun. This extraordinary team maybe behind the scenes but it is visible that their creativity and huge imagination makes them stars in their own right.
Definitely run to see this beautiful story unfold and makes you fall in love with the magic once again.
The Wizard of Oz plays dark Monday, Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 pm and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 until Sunday, October 6 at the Pantages Theatre located at 6233 Hollywood Blvd, in Los Angeles. For ticket information call (800) 982-2787 reserve online at www.HollywoodPantages.com or www.Ticketmaster.com.
- Shirley Temple was considered for the role but her singing voice wasn’t ideal. After heavy arguments between Temple’s studio, 20th Century Fox, and Garland’s Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, Judy Garland was chosen.
- Temple was given the vehicle “The Bluebird” (20th Century Fox, 1940) as a replacement for losing out as Dorothy but the movie tanked. In the movie, audience couldn’t accept Temple’s character who was a mean brat.
- “The Wizard of Oz” according to Wikipedia made $239,190,498 (adjusted 2012)
- In the book, Dorothy wore silver slippers. However, it was changed to ruby red for the film’s Technicolor.
- It’s hinted in the book that Dorothy was around 10-12. Garland played her when she was 16.
- The late Buddy Ebsen was originally to star as the Tin Man but became deathly allergic from the dust makeup. Jack Haley filled in after the makeup was changed to paste.