Terrace Plaza Playhouse’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ delightful, entertaining

Friday , June 20, 2014 - 2:54 PM

Standard-Examiner staff

It’s hard to arrive at a stage production of “The Wizard of Oz” with high expectations.

Pretty much everyone has seen the legendary 1939 film, and all but the youngest among us know we’re unlikely to walk into a community theater production and see a sudden burst of Technicolor, a bubble-encased good witch or a convincing hot air balloon to match our cinematic memories.

But here’s the shocking news about Terrace Plaza Playhouse’s production of “The Wizard of Oz”:

It’s safe to get your hopes up. This is a fun, playful, smart production.

This production addresses all the obstacles in creative ways, leaving the audience either convinced or highly entertained.

And the musical, directed by Dennis Ferrin, also takes the script in other fun directions, adding delightful details and sight gags.

The musical begins with a creative tip of the hat to the film classic, which we will not spoil here. The show’s farm hand characters, dressed drably, make their entrances, with Dorothy, Toto (way cuter than the movie version), aunt Em and uncle Henry. The menacing Miss Gulch pedals in, giving audience members a glance that leaves no doubt she has contempt for them, too.

Skip forward to the twister. Without a Hollywood budget, realism is out of the question, so Ferrin found a way to both visually represent the chaos and to give the audience a big laugh at the absurdity of the solution. Ditto for the fashion in which Glinda, Good Witch of the North, arrives and departs.

So, how can the show provide “Technicolor” hues bright enough to startle modern eyes? With both intensity and wild patterns, applied to Munchkins who pack the stage in a dizzying display.

Cydney Hall made an excellent Dorothy, with both a strong, clear singing voice and impressive acting chops. She was ably backed by Justin “Spot” Beecher, Nathan Kremin, Shane Pearson, Ken Hadlock and Sherri Folkman, all of whom were convincingly different — physically, vocally and emotionally — in dual roles. Shelby Ferrin and Jacci Florence played more similar dual roles, equally memorably.

This “Wizard of Oz” is worth seeing, and has elements to entertain adults and children alike.

“In some ways, I like the play better than the movie,” said Brice Ward, 29, an audience member from North Ogden. “They’re doing a pretty good job, and they’re very energetic. The Munchkins were unique. They reminded me more of Dr. Seuss than ‘The Wizard of Oz.’”

Mary Snow, 66, came from Chicago to see the production.

“My granddaughter was one of the Munchkins in the Lullaby League,” Snow explained. “I’ve seen the movie my whole life and I’ve seen ‘Wicked’ four times. The singers voices were very good, and they made clever use of a small space and of video effects.”

Jennifer Martinez, 42, of Roy, called the production “adorable and cute.”

Louis Martinez, 24, also of Roy, praised the show for its unexpected humor and the “captivating” voice of Dorothy.

“She’s a very good singer,” he said.

“The Wizard of Oz” continues at 7:30 p.m. Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays through July 26 at Terrace Plaza Plahouse, 99 E. 4700 South, Washington Terrace. Tickets are $10-$12 for adults, $7-$9 for children. Call 801-393-0070 or visit http://terraceplayhouse.com.

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