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Wizard of Oz returns to Detroit Opera House

Danielle Wade as Dorothy, Jamie McKnight as Scarecrow, Lee MacDougall as Lion, Mike Jackson as Tin Man
Danielle Wade as Dorothy, Jamie McKnight as Scarecrow, Lee MacDougall as Lion, Mike Jackson as Tin Man
Broadway in Detroit

The Wizard of Oz musical at the Detroit Opera House 6-18-14


It's been 75 years since the award-winning film "The Wizard of Oz" first weaved its magic and changed American culture forever.

The movie industry grew by leaps and bounds after its release in 1939 and lines from the movie and its classic songs have been passed down from generation to generation.

The new stage adaptation of The Wizard of Oz opened at the Detroit Opera House on June 17 and will be running through June 29. The musical features the original score as well as new songs by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Based on the L. Frank Baum novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz", which was originally published in 1900, the production tells the tale of Dorothy (Danielle Wade) from Kansas, who yearns to get away from her home and see the world "over the rainbow". Caught in a tornado, she and her dog Toto wind up in the magical Oz, where she meets a number of new friends as well as some new enemies.

Although many of the original story and film moments remain, the production also changes things up a bit not only with new music but with little key differences in the storyline and small dialogue changes throughout including a number of tongue-in-cheek moments for the Scarecrow (Jamie McKnight), Cowardly Lion (Lee MacDougall) and Tin Man (Mike Jackson).

Jacquelyn Piro Donovan does a fantastic job of bringing the evil Wicked Witch of the West to life and Jay Brazeau makes The Wizard his own, bringing a certain vulnerability not present in the film version.

Wade also makes the role of Dorothy her own as she brings a rougher, more tomboyish version to the stage.

The musical uses a number of special effects, thunderous sounds and projections to achieve the classic tornado and flying monkey moments and the set pieces do a great job of bringing Oz to life with magnificent color and spectacle while allowing black and white tones to set the mood of Kansas.

The Wizard of Oz is a delightful musical fit for all ages and once again allows all those in attendance to rediscover the magic.