Oz in the News 4.12.17

‘The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz’ lands back at the House in time for a dark family spring break Dorothy — who now is played, and with the right mix of vulnerability and resilience, by Kara Davidson — is very much a recognizable teenager in this version. Instead of all of the characters in her dream operating as farmhands, as they do in the movie — they represent a school board rejecting Dorothy from one of their programs, a program that she thinks might save her, because she does not seem sufficiently sure of what she wants to do. Not everything in the piece is as telling or emotionally resonant, although AnJi White does not mess around as The Witch of the West (the wickedness is in the beholding) and Joey Steakley, who plays Toto (as he did years ago) packs a lot of emotional wallop into manipulating a little, loyal dog.

All hail the great and powerful ‘Oz,’ the king of American novels “There’s no question that it’s at the top,” said renowned literary scholar Michael Patrick Hearn, who has written extensively about Baum. “ ‘Huckleberry Finn,’ ‘Little Women’ and ‘Tom Sawyer’ certainly have affected American life, but not like ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.’ Probably the only thing you can compare it to these days is the Harry Potter madness.” The difference, of course, is that Baum’s novel was published 117 years ago, yet it still casts a spell as powerful as anything J.K. Rowling has conjured.

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