Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

April 9, 2018

REVIEW: The Bushnell, The Wizard of Oz

The Bushnell, Hartford, CT
through April 8, 2018
by Susan Choquette

On occasion, the Bushnell offers short-run musicals, separate from its annual Broadway Series. This was the case with the iconic “The Wizard of Oz.” In the Spotlight sent a mother and young daughter team to “Oz”on opening night.

My daughter and I joined the audience of “The Wizard of Oz” during the company’s three night tour stop at the Bushnell in Hartford. The musical was a definite fun family-friendly show that young children obviously enjoyed. However, seasoned theatre-goers might have found “Oz” a bit lacking. While the overall stage craft was extremely impressive - the set, projections, and special effects - the acting was not at the same level seen in other national tours at the Bushnell.

A highlight of “Oz” was its choreography with strong dancing of the ensemble in colorful and creative costumes. In addition, the visual transformation of the mundane trio of Kansas farmers into the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion deserves kudos. Several strong vocal performances made up for some lackluster jokes that were added to this production.

While young kids may find the show appealing, die-hard fans of the original book or movie may be disappointed. As an introduction to children to theatre, “Oz” was very cute.