“She’s just trying to get the ruby slippers. They are all she has left of her sister. Her sister was killed!”
-Mary Fox stated of the heart of her character The Wicked Witch of the West.
My daughter and I had the opportunity to see the Wizard of Oz on opening night at the Children’s Theatre. I’d recommend this musical for kids who like and can sit through the movie or have experience with sitting still for longer periods.
Children’s Theatre did not stray too far from the Judy Garland version with this production. It was fun to see how a relatively small theatre could pull off the tornado and the black-and-white-to-color moment. I think they did beautifully.
I tried unsuccessfully to keep my daughter from singing along. I think maybe its just too much to ask people not to sing ‘Ding Dong the Witch is Dead’. A lot of adults were singing it as they walked out of the theater. That is one of the plus sides of Children’s Theatre. There is no expectation of perfect quiet from the audience.
This musical is a full two-hours including a 15 minute intermission after the first hour. I may have been able to keep the 5-year-old engaged, but definitely not the 3-year-old or baby. However, I learned this weekend that CTC has a “quiet” room which is actually a nice description for “there is no way this kid is going to stay quiet, but I still want to see the show” room. In the past, if we were unsure if all four kids would make it, we’ve bought tickets for times the MIA was open. This is a nice option, too, but it requires one parent to miss out on the show to sit in a room full of blocks and books. With the option of the quiet room, I would unhesitatingly bring the whole family and see what happens.
“Kids pick up on the details and the nuances. They are experiencing true feelings, not just the nostalgia like the adults. They are so captivated into the performance. They can tell when the character is in your heart.”
There are several ways a family could prep ahead for this show. The first, of course, would be watching the movie version or listening to the soundtrack to learn all the songs. Maybe you could even do a double feature with Oz The Great and Powerful.
For a child who would like to go deeper into the Oz story, the books are all available through the Gutenberg Project. Now could be a good time to encourage some classic reading. CTC offers some suggestions of their own for preparing in their Audience Guide, including discussion ideas for before and after the play.
After the play, my daughter was excited to try to make a crystal ball out of an old fish bowl and I thought the Wizard of Oz houses they made at the Home Depot last year could be made into a short tornado sequence in their puppet theater. I’ve set the houses next to the theater, but so far they haven’t taken the bait.
Tickets can be purchased HERE or by calling the box office: 612.874.0400.
“How could a good little girl like you destroy my beautiful wickedness.”
-Wicked Witch of the West
Children’s Theatre Company provided us with two tickets to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.