The Wizard of Oz — again, but well done

publicity photo for The Wizard of Oz (CTORA Theatre)

Don’t make me cry, you two, I’m going to rust. (Photo of Preston Wilder and Camryn Macdonald by Canna Zhou)

I’ve seen The Wizard of Oz approximately one million times, so there weren’t a lot of surprises for me in this CTORA Theatre production. But CTORA Theatre itself is surprising and there’s some very nice work in this show.

CTORA, which once stood for Children’s Theatre of Richmond Association but is now, I’m told, just an acronym — I don’t get it; the company needs a better name, right? — has been around since 2017. They’re into championing “young and emerging artists” while “delivering quality performances.”

Directed by Mark Carter, this production is slick and, although CTORA is a non-profit, this Wizard is clearly well funded. A team of six — count ’em!* — costume designers, has created scores of costumes to clothe the multiply-cast ensemble of 25, and a lot of them are terrific. Lion’s costume, with its flowing dreadlocks and pattable chest ruff springs to mind, and so do the parasols made of giant single blossoms that the Munchkins carry. Then there are the poppies with their Elizabethan collars of scarlet petals, and Glinda’s cloud-like gown, which twinkles more than the Milky Way. These explosions of colour and light take place on Brian Ball’s effectively minimalist set. Ball uses an elegantly framed circular screen to set the scenes, which he does with a sepia palette. [Read more…]

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