Kids seemed to be spellbound with “The Wizard of OZ” onstage at the Lutcher. I have never been in a theater with that many children (at least a third of the audience, if not half), when the audience was so silent and attentive. Only twice during the entire performance did you hear a small child cry, and only for a second.

The production managed to capture all the magic and wonder of the movie. From Glinda the Good Witch of the North, floating into Munchkin Land in her “bubble,” to melting the Wicked Witch of the West near the end. It was clever the way they used moving images projected onto a translucent screen to create Dorothy caught in the tornado. The effect received applause from the audience, as did a costume change in the poppy field scene. And don’t forget the flying monkeys.

The favorite character in the production seemed to be Toto. There was a collective “ahhh” the first time he ran on the stage. He never missed a cue. Dusty as Toto was a professional that knew his part well and never needed prompting.

The same can be said of the Munchkins. Local children were cast in the parts. They also joined the guard of the Wicked Witch of the West. Local lollipops were Hunter Font and Chase Courtier. Members of the band were Kaylee Pattillo, Meara Patterson, Meg Clark and Brielle Butler. Playing Munchkin officials were Hailee Sasser, Lani Daniels, Haley Ebner and Brie Martin. The lullabies were Alex Saucier and Michaela Dorsey. It was an awesome opportunity for the children to be a part of a professional production and should be an experience they won’t soon forget.

Cassie Okenka as Dorothy Gale; Adam Jepsen as the Scarecrow; Beau Hutchings as the Tinman (the understudy for Peter Gosik.); and Jesse Coleman as Lion sang and danced their way down the Yellow Brick Road in the land of OZ. The Emerald City and the Wizard’s chamber were spectacular sets with all the grandeur required.

It was a delightful tale celebrating the 75th anniversary of the movie; filled with outstanding special effects that will keep kids believing in magic for years to come.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.