Just about everyone has seen the classic movie, “The Wizard of Oz,” but seeing the story of Dorothy and her journey through Oz come to life on stage at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse allows audience members to be part of the action. There are so many elements and details woven throughout the play that there is never a dull moment. Plus it’s fun for the whole family as kids are welcome to come dressed up as their favorite characters.
What’s great about the theater itself is that they theme their meals around each play. This time they served home cooked food like you’d find in Kansas, including chicken fried steak and barbeque chicken. They were also selling fun items for the kids, such as glowing wands and light up ice cubes.
There was a strong cast that was spot on in their roles. Christy Oberndorf showed just how brave Dorothy’s character is, and Annie Dwyer was able to be funny at times while still maintaining an evil persona as Miss Almira Gulch and The Wicked Witch. Furby the dog played Toto during the Kansas farm scenes. He stayed calm and well behaved the entire time. Then Avery Mendoza played Toto in Oz. Though using a real person as a dog seems cheesy, it worked. The little girl was cute, plus Oz is like a dream world, so things aren’t going to seem as realistic as it did in Kansas.
Not only was there great acting, but the choreography was stunning. It was apparent that everyone was an experienced actor as they were in sync with each other and moved gracefully across the stage. The best part, though, was the intricate dance moves. People were lifted and twirled through the air, while some characters did acrobatics like back-handsprings and cartwheels across the stage.
The intricate sets were the most impressive part of the play. Some parts were stationary while other pieces moved and fit well together, bringing the stage to life. The sets were also detailed and huge. Some of the buildings were even 3D, such as the farmhouse and the witches castle. This made the play seem more realistic. There were stairs on some of the sets for the characters to walk up and doors to go through. The balloon at the end of the play was even attached to a pulley system so that it could lift off the ground. The stage isn’t that big, but they put it to good use. Plus at some points the whole theater, including the audience, became the stage as characters appeared on the balcony and throughout the aisles.
The effects also added to the experience. Lighting swirled around the audience and smoke engulfed the stage when the wicked witch appeared. One of the coolest effects was the huge projection of the floating wizard head. Sound effects were used to make the scenes more realistic, such as the sound of wind blowing during the tornado scene. A live orchestra played the songs.
The detailed costumes and props also helped set the scene. The costumes looked just like they did in the movie. Dorothy wore the iconic white and blue dress with her sparkly red shoes. Dwyer made an impressive costume change from Miss Almira Gulch in the first scene to being painted green as the Wicked Witch. The munchkins costume was one of the audience’s favorite. The actors stood on their knees to look shorter and had fake legs hanging from their waist to look like they were standing on their feet. Many props were also used such as an oilcan for the tinman and red balls that looked like apples during the scene where the trees threw apples at Dorothy and the Scarecrow.
After the musical, people were singing and humming along to all the songs. Avery Anderson attends most of the plays at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse and thought “The Wizard of Oz” was a really good production. “When dealing with a story and characters that iconic, it can be hard to do them justice, but I thought they were represented really well and made you feel like a kid again.” “The Wizard of Oz” is playing at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse now through September 11th.