Local ‘Wizard of Oz’ goes over rainbow

Recently, a full house at the Mishler was “off to see the Wizard.”

The P&J production of “The Wizard of Oz” brought us from Kansas to the Emerald City in a heart-warming performance.

Superb acting, singing and dancing by the Scarecrow (Tony Demi), Tinman (Will Jones) and Cowardly Lion (Rodney Berkley) made us believe in their journey to get a brain, heart and courage.

Glinda (Mara Gurnard), with her top-notch vocals, and the Wicked Witch (Marilyn Pyeatt), with her perfectly tuned wickedness, made their entrances with high production quality (I won’t give it away, but it added extra magic to the show).

Director Jim Pollino managed a huge cast of principles, Munchkins, Flying Monkeys, Winkies and tap-dancing Jitterbugs like a Broadway pro.

It is no easy undertaking to bring a beloved character to life on-stage when following in the footsteps of Judy Garland, but Ellie Irwin, (only 14) was up to the challenge. She won us over from her first notes of “Over the Rainbow” to her final line, “There’s no place like home.”

There were so many fun things about this production — from a sly wink at Broadway’s “The Lion King,” to singing crows and trees, and an adorable performance by the tiniest Munchkin, 4-year-old Carys Jones.

This show is packed with creative special effects, but at its center, it is a charming, live version of a beloved story.

It truly is a “wonderful Wizard of Oz.”

Julia Plummer Schokker

Altoona

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