Prana Performs The Wizard of Oz
by Ceci LeBeau 10/29/13
The Holliston Middle School was packed Thursday evening as The Wizard of Oz opened for the first of its four already sold out shows.
The Holliston Middle School was packed Thursday evening as The Wizard of Oz opened for the first of its four already sold out shows. Ninety plus youngsters from pre-school to high school starred in Prana Productions' 45th show. No play shone brighter in the faces of the multi-talented cast, and its highly appreciative audience.
Wonder was the theme of the evening. Wonder at the vim and verve with which such favorites as Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead and Follow the Yellow Brick Road were belted out by a stage full of brightly costumed performers. Wonder at the lovely rendition of Over the Rainbow by a charming Dorothy. Wonder at the extent of costuming, down to military style crests emblazoning two colors of soldier uniforms for even the minor characters of palace guards. Wonder at the props, which included a giant sized hourglass to mark the Wicked Witch's wicked plans for her captive. Wonder at the sets, which took us from Kansas farmhouse to Professor Marvel's traveling bunkhouse to Emerald City's castle and then the Wizard's private lair. Wonder at the special effects, which included an intimidating super sized projection of the Wizard's face. Wonder at the sheer number of munchkins, jitterbugs, flying monkeys and winkies.
There was room for humor, too. Laughs were heard throughout the play at a butterfly net artfully employed, the Cowardly Lion's star turn that would have made Bert Lahr proud, the antics of a speaking Toto, the squeaky voices of " you'll be his, you'll be his, you'll be history", and the cleverness of the forest scene, in which disgruntled trees throw their apples when insulted.
But it was the music and dance that stole the show. Impressive three-part harmonies from the older girls as Jitterbugs, a scene cut from the movie, added satisfying sophistication to the Optimistic Voices. Cartwheels and smart choreography in the dance numbers were refreshingly mixed between the cuter, younger numbers. From the Scarecrow's beautiful singing voice in If I Only Had a Brain , and Auntie Em's tuneful contributions, down to the little soloists as the Lullaby League and Lollypop Guild, the singing was top drawer, done with heart as well as art.
Why does this show still sparkle, after so many renditions? Perhaps because, after being scooped up by a tornado, chased by a deliciously wicked witch, and deceived by a humbug, Dorothy and her friends learn that the deepest desires of their hearts were within them after all, and there is truly is no place like home. Pull back the veneer of modern day sophistication, and these are values we all still need to stay grounded. These simple truths are never on better display than with Prana's current version of The Wizard of Oz.
Posted in Arts.