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  The Wizard of Oz Reviews
The Wizard of Oz
The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz
Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Thru - Aug 25, 2019

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Show Information


Chicago Shakespeare Theater

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Recommended

"...What you are seeing here is what is known in the trade as “The Wizard of Oz, Junior,” or something like that. As musical stagings go, “The Wizard of Oz, Senior" was never any great theatrical shakes, and in the cut-back version, Dorothy gets whisked out of Kansas and sent off down that Yellow Brick Road alongside her scarecrow (Marya Grandy), Tin Man (Joseph Anthony Byrd) and Cowardly Lion (Jose Antonio Garcia) quicker than an Elton John costume change. There aren’t any surprises in director Brian Hill’s production, but thanks in no small part to Emily Rohm, who now has graduated to Aunt Em, the emotional resonance survives the rush. Dorothy’s destination is William Dick’s Wizard, who is perfectly disappointing, as he should be."
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Chris Jones



Chicago Sun Times- Highly Recommended

"...At a taut 75-minutes, the "Wizard of Oz" has everything you want from young adult theater. It stays true to its beloved source while making Dorothy's adventures evergreen."
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Catey Sullivan



Let's Play at ChicagoNow- Highly Recommended

"...There is no denying that no matter our age, there is no place like home with the timeless score of cherished classics of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"— "We're Off To See The Wizard" — and Yellow Brick Road are being sung. You could see many of the over 50 crowds, mouthing the words to each song. Throughout the eighty years of The Wizard of Oz the development of the characters changed in the 1925 American silent fantasy-adventure comedy film directed by Larry Semon, the Tin Man was a criminal; however, we all remember MGM's 1939 version where for a moment, we were kids again traveling down the yellow brick road."
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Rick and Brenda McCain



Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...This is a 75 minute adaptation without intermission and has been directed with great care by Brian Hill with choreography by Kenny Ingram. The idea of bringing yet another version of this classic to the stage might make you think, why? But, I am here to tell you, this is a slick production with a break-through cast of players. What I truly like is that part of what we see is more today than anything else. The characters are “genderless” and have no race. Yes, in this version, the Scarecrow is delightfully portrayed by Marya Grandy, the Lion by Jose Antonio Garcia and the Tin Man by Joseph Anthony Bird. There is something special about seeing this story told in this new and fresh manner. I for one, loved the entire idea."
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Alan Bresloff



Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...A happy break from the summer’s heat and humidity, this joyous, cinematically faithful, miraculous musical is a production for audiences of every age. Thanks to the popularity of the film, everyone knows this story by heart; but seeing L. Frank Baum’s classic brought to life onstage makes the magic tangible since it’s happening just a few feet away. Brian Hill’s talented cast effortlessly creates all the movie’s many lovable characters and, following each performance, audiences are invited to meet them in person in the lobby. This outing to Oz is one journey that every theatergoer, both the young and young-at-heart, will never forget."
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Colin Douglas



The Fourth Walsh- Highly Recommended

"...Hill knows how to tell a story. He even uses a live Toto (played by Derby). For a good chunk of the play, the effervescent Leryn Turlington (Dorothy) is carrying the adorable pup. Turlington captivates from Kansas to Oz and back to Kansas. She starts by beautifully singing "Over the Rainbow" and ends with heartfelt gratitude to be home. In between, she sings, dances and befriends all kinds of people and creatures. Her main squad, Marya Grandy (Scarecrow), Joseph Anthony Byrd (Tin Man), Jose Antonio Garcia (Lion), bring the comedy and the friendship. The foursome build a fierce bond that had me misty in their goodbye scene. And nod out to Hollis Resnick for her wickedly witchy ways! The entire ensemble are tirelessly terrific in making this show a treat for kids of all ages."
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Katy Walsh



Chicagoland Musical Theatre- Highly Recommended

"...Strikingly wonderful is the attention given to the black and white scenes in Kansas juxtaposed with the Oz scenes in living color, just like the film. Credit that to Mike Tutaj’s terrific moving projections and Lee Fiskness’ wonderful lighting complementing Scott Davis’ spot-on, flexible scenic design. Fabulous costuming by the incomparable Theresa Ham and wig/makeup work by Richard Jarvie set the stage for a chorus of great voices, musically directed by Kory Danielson. Assistant Musical Director Kevin Reeks conducts a backstage quartet that brings the sound of a full orchestra performing the well-known Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen songs like “Over the Rainbow,” “Munchkinland,” “Yellow Brick Road,” “If I Only Had a Brain,” “We’re Off to See the Wizard,” “Ding Dong! the Witch is Dead” and many more."
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Barry Reszel



Third Coast Review- Recommended

"...The musical is attention grabbing from start to finish. Live musicians, accompanied by new orchestrations and arrangements by Neil Bartram, engage the audience and broaden the accessibility of the acts. Choreography by Kenny Ingram (multiple Jeff Award-winner) also plays a huge role in this. Coupled with the entire cast’s talent—particularly in the Jitterbug’s tap dance—Ingram gifts viewers with over 15 unique dance numbers. Beat the heat and entertain the kids with this summer musical. Be sure to stick around after the show to score a photo with a member of the cast!"
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Katie Priest



PicksInSix- Highly Recommended

"...The colorful, compact and highly entertaining revival of “The Wizard of Oz” landed like a cyclone at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier, enchanting young and old at the Friday afternoon press performance. The big stage treatment, with ingenious twists on the familiar story by director Brian Hill and superbly inventive choreography by Kenny Ingram, brings the iconic L. Frank Baum characters to life in layers of creative interpretations to highlight a top-flight company bursting with heart and brimming with talent."
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Ed Tracy