Brittany Pierce-Caiazza’s Review of The Wizard of Oz

March 23, 2019

The New Rose Theatre

Walden

We Followed the Yellow Brick Road…

...and were not disappointed with what we found. Under the careful, and very passionate, eyes of Dee Tabitha Wright, the dancers at The New Rose Theatre in Walden have once again delivered a delightful production with their rendition of The Wizard of Oz - A Contemporary Ballet. But don’t go looking for the usual fare - this is a full-on ballet. And what a joy it is!

Wright has created a version of The Wizard of Oz that brings together pieces of the original film, more “modern” music (modern in that it is within the last century), and homages to the Broadway show Wicked in a complete, fresh telling of the beloved classic.

Wright has assembled a cast of powerhouse dancers to bring the characters to life, and these dancers, combined with an ever-changing set, truly immerse the audience in the world of Oz.

As Dorothy, Sophia Baker never leaves the stage, and you can tell that this is a passion piece for her. She is strong, graceful, and truly enjoyable to watch. The supporting characters, Brooke Salsbury as Scarecrow, Sheridan Florio as Tinman, and Kiera Walsh as Lion were all very enjoyable and skilled. Special note to Allison Feller in her dual role as Aunt Em and Glinda. The difference in these two roles provided her a chance to put on full display her repertoire of skills, and she is one skilled young lady. And of course, the Munchkins deserve a special mention as being the cutest kids on the block, and being so infectious with their enthusiasm for the the new arrivals in Oz.

Two of the strongest moments of the show came in the form of darkness and evil. The tornado (Ben Carter, Allison Feller, Sheridan Florio, Decon Gomez, Maeve Harkin, Casey Leyden, Ethan Metzger, Paris Robinson, Brooke Salsbry, and Kiera Walsh) was seriously one of the most beautiful moments of the ballet. The music, the lighting, the costumes, and the choreography came together seamlessly to envelope the audience in the fear and destruction of a tornado. This moment showed Dee Tabitha Wright at her finest. She shines in the powerhouse, modern dance pieces of the show.

As the Wicked Witch, Karly Gomez is phenomenal. She radiates evil in every turn, and what an entrance!! She is fierce, commanding, and dynamic. I anxiously awaited the return of the Witch throughout the show, and I relished when she would enter from the wings. In her scenes with Chistery (Paris Robinson), you see two incredibly strong dancers in their glory. They complement each other beautifully, and you can tell they are seasoned performers.

My only criticism of this Oz production is in terms of its technical short comings. The lengthy scene changes brought the audience out of the action, and at times, the music was so loud it was actually hard to hear. Despite these two minor flaws, I offer nothing but praise for The New Rose Theatre, Dee Tabitha Wright, and their fresh take of The Wizard of Oz.

The Wizard of Oz - A Contemporary Ballet runs this coming weekend, March 29-31, at The New Rose Theatre in Walden. For more information or to purchase tickets contact 845-778-2478, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit the website at http://hudsonvalleyconservatory.org/upcoming-events.

 

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