The Wizard of Oz

Danielle Wade won the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz for a Toronto stage production after voters across Canada picked her as the best Dorothy in a CBC reality television show called Over the Rainbow. Now she’s coming to Houston (not a new experience; she has family in Texas) thanks to Theatre Under the Stars in a touring production of the classic story of the girl, her dog Toto and her pals on the way to the Emerald City. Yes, she sings “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” just as Judy Garland did, but there are four new songs in the show, thanks to Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Asked if the runaway success of Wicked with its different take on the goodness/badness of witches and Dorothy had any effect on the traditional version of the story, Wade said, “I think some of the costumes are a little bit inspired by Wicked; our Emerald City is actually quite similar to the Wicked production. Having the other side of the witches’ story might have an effect; our Glinda is a little goofy, and the Wicked Witch you feel for a little bit. It’s not the same; our Wicked Witch is still very, very wicked, but she does have a song now, and so does Glinda.”

Other tweaks are that, yes, while Dorothy wears her signature dress, she also gets to wear overalls (were we the only ones who didn’t understand why Garland’s Dorothy wore a dress to slop the pigs?). As far as Wade is concerned, the two dogs who play Toto are some of the best aspects of the show. “Nigel is the lead Toto; Loki is the understudy. It’s really cool to hear the audience’s reaction when they come out for the first time.”

For your chance to take a trip along the yellow brick road, join TUTS at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays. Through March 16. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-558-8887 or visit tuts.com. $24 to $121.
Tuesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m. Starts: March 4. Continues through March 16, 2014

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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing