We’re Off to See The Wizard…

…with lowered expectations.

Today, we saw “The Wizard of Oz” at Cabrillo Music Theatre in Thousand Oaks. For a change, I was not impressed with this production. Of course, I didn’t go in expecting much either. After all, this was a stage version of the classic movie musical. As such, it had dialogue I could recite by heart, with particular characterizations that everyone expected, which bound the actors. They also didn’t have the luxury of the movie’s special effects, and the duplications were weak.

Most of the actors were not that notable, with one exception. Jay Brian Winnick played the Cowardly Lion. He was most recently on Broadway with Nathan Lane in The Frogs, and also played Lefou in Beauty and the Beast, Nicely in Guys and Dolls, and a number of off broadway productions. He was really good at physical comedy, and channeled both Bert Lahr as well as Nathan Lane. He had quite a few great ad libs.

There were some fun parts in the program, however. Kristen King thanked her green unitard for not being see-through, so that she didn’t have to face her recurring nightmare of being naked in front of 1800 people. Daisy, the Cairn Terrier, was noted as having a day job as a receptionist for a Woodland Hills Accounting Firm.

As for the show itself: It was basically the movie musical. They added in some short intro pieces to If I Only Had A Brain and If I Only Had A Heart, added a reprise of Over the Rainbow, and (one of the things I liked) restored the Jitterbug sequence that was deleted from the movie.

The audience had more children than usual. Usually, the youngest we see there is around 5; today we even had 3 year olds. Alas, that is too young for the theatre.

One last note: My daughter noted a really odd juxtaposition: We saw Wicked three weeks ago, and now a number of things about the movie just seem wrong. Nessa didn’t have green feet. There was no reason for the Scarecrow to hate or fear the Wicked Witch of the West. And lastly, there was no reason for the Scarecrow to be made ruler in the Wizard’s absence.

Next up for Cabrillo Music Theatre: Oliver!, in October 2005. That will be followed by Forever Plaid and Seussical.