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Wizard of Oz

Review of Wizard of Oz

Peoria Players Theatre
By Douglas E. Love

“We’re off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz because, because, because, because, because…”

It’s magical; it’s colorful; it’s enchanting; it’s spooky; it’s evil; it’s charming; and it’s a classic.
Honest-to-goodness, grab the kids and head on over to Peoria Players Theatre this weekend, because you will not want your little ones to miss this fantastic journey to the Emerald City.

Or, for that matter, you won’t want to miss it either.

There are so many good things to say about this production, it’s hard to know where to start.
Let’s begin with Director Mary Ellen Ulrich who did an outstanding job casting. 

Clare Zell looked and sounded the part as Dorothy.  And Toto was just as cute as a button, and well behaved, what an adorable little pup.

Josh Hammond, as the Scarecrow, absolutely lit up the stage with his song and dance number “If I Only had a Brain.”  Kudos to you Josh Hammond.

Bryan Blanks showed his mettle as the Tin Man, while Charles Killen made the most lovable Cowardly Lion one could ever hope to encounter.

One cannot talk about this production without gushing over the costumes, the set design, and the make-up.

The set was minimalistic, yet grand, swirling and twirling from one scene to the next, with the colors popping from the stage.

There were little red poppies and big white snowflakes; there were cute little Munchkins and excitable little Ozians; there were dutiful Winkies and frightening little monkeys.

And yes, there was a mean witch with a scary laugh; and a good witch with a lovely gown and shiny crown; and all these things told us “we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

In fact, we are delightfully swept away to the land of Lions, and Tigers, and Bears – ah-ha!
The stage version doesn’t stray too far the 1939 Judy Garland film, which is refreshing, however it does run a little long, about 2 hours and 15 minutes with a 20-minute intermission.

This cast does a wonderful job with all of those memorable, sing-able, songs like “Over the Rainbow,” “Yellow Brick Road,” and “Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead!”

If you have the courage, the heart, or the brains to do so, this is your chance to relive the adventures of Dorothy and Toto as they complete their journey from the land of dream and sleep only to discover “there’s no place like home.”

During intermission there will be face painting in the lobby, roses for sale, along with snacks.  Because of the piles of snow, you would be well advised to arrive early to park close.

The Wizard of Oz will run Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with matinees Saturday, at 1:30 p.m., and on Sunday, at 2:30 p.m.  Tickets are $17 per adult, $12 for youth 18 and under. For tickets visit or call 309-688-4473.

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