Wizard of Oz

A Wonderful Wizard of Oz that favors film fans

Kids will be delighted by NWCT's play that so aptly mimics the movie.

Have you heard? there’s a Wizard of Oz production on right now! The Wizard of Oz is playing through Jan 2 at Northwest Children’s Theater.

“Well, that settles it; we’re off to see The Wizard!” you may immediately proclaim. “Never mind the review.” And I say more power to you. Yes, you may be excused. Go!

Ronni Lee is Dorothy, Clara-Liis Hillier is the witch, and there’s even a little dog, too!

Now, then. Those of us you who are still reading probably fall into two types: extreme Dorothy devotees who demand perfection from their Wizard of Oz productions, and people who could give a rip about The Wizard, but are gamely seeking shows to enjoy with their family over the holidays. And both sets of folks are wondering, “Is it good?” Good news: it’s excellent. And in the best sense of the word, it’s “safe,” faithfully recreating all of the major elements from in the 1939 movie version. This show is almost exactly everything you’d expect. The Lion, Tin Man, Scarecrow and Wizard look, sing and talk just like they do in the movie, Dorothy’s eyes and vowels are every bit as round as Judy Garland’s, Toto is a real live terrier, and so on. This show could almost be called The Wizard of Oz: The Movie, On Stage. And that’s ideal for kids.

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ArtsWatch Weekly: all that glitters, all that glows

A holiday compendium: in dark times, a triumph of artistic light

I read the news today, oh boy. It’s a compulsion begun in childhood with the sports and comics pages of broadsheet newspapers (Duke Snider! Alley Oop!) and expanded, as I grew older, into the full range of world events and a long career inside the sausage factory of the newsgathering game. Rarely has the news looked more bleak or fragile than it does today: who knows where that latest piece of Internet-amplified information came from, or whether it was invented by fierce partisans out of outsourced whole cloth, without a whiff of objectivity or credibility? Truth becomes the loudest voice; the loudest voice becomes the truth. Oh boy, indeed.

Miya Zolkoske and Andrea Whittle (foreground) with ensemble in "A Civil War Christmas." Photo: Owen Carey

Miya Zolkoske and Andrea Whittle (foreground) with ensemble in “A Civil War Christmas.” Photo: Owen Carey

Hardly a time, it would seem, for visions of sugarplums. And yet, as the holidays roar into their inescapable month of triumph (if there’s a “war on Christmas,” its battlefields seem to be in places like Walmart and Macy’s and Amazon) I find myself, once again, comforted by the beauty and ritual of the season’s quiet core. At our house we have our own holiday rituals, including a strict paternal ban on pulling out the Christmas CDs before Thanksgiving, a ruling that is regularly and gleefully broken by the better natures of the household, who know a sucker when they see one. Lately, having once again acquiesced to the inevitable, I’ve been listening to an old favorite, “Christmas in Eastern Europe,” from the Bucharest Madrigal Choir.

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