News and Tribune

Entertainment News

July 7, 2013

WHALEY: DDP’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ electrifying

CLARKSVILLE — That well-traveled yellow brick road to “The Wizard of Oz” beckons once again in Derby Dinner Playhouse’s impressive revival of the Royal Shakespeare Company of England’s theatrical treatment of the classic film.

This magical production, expertly directed by Lee Buckholz, taps into the vast range of emotions elicited by L. Frank Baum’s original story and the MGM musical with its great Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg score, here under Scott Bradley’s musical direction.

Audience surrender is a foregone conclusion from the moment that feisty, vulnerable Dorothy Gale (Cami Glauser, captivating in the Judy Garland role) sings a yearning “Over the Rainbow” as she wonders how to protect her adored dog Toto from threats of vicious neighbor Almira Gultch (Lauren Leland, channeling Margaret Hamilton).

Toto, a 5-year-old Shi Tzu/Yorkshire Terrier mix named Reese, performs with a veteran’s assurance in her stage debut.

With tongue in cheek, producer Bekki Jo Schneider asked if people at Friday’s press opening knew the show’s story. Who doesn’t? It’s all here, starting with the Kansas farm where Dorothy lives with Uncle Henry (Lem Jackson) and Aunt Em (Jillian Prefach) and is befriended by the three farmhands who transform into the scarecrow (Matthew Brennan), a tin woodsman (Tyler Bliss), and a cowardly lion (Paul Kerr) when she is knocked out during a twister and finds herself over the rainbow in Oz.

The storm scene is brilliantly realized as ballet dancers (choreography by Heather Page Folsom) flip and twirl long cloth pieces while lightning flashes (lighting design by Ron Breedlove), and thunder crashes (sound by David Nelson). During these electrifying moments Miss Gultch turns into the black-clad Wicked Witch furiously riding her bike.

And now the stage brightens as flower-filled Oz comes into view with Glinda the Good Witch of the North (Jillian Prefach, who was Aunt Em) floating down from the ceiling in a sparkling blue gown to introduce Dorothy and Toto to the munchkins who live there and are overjoyed that Dorothy’s house fell on the Wicked Witch of the West and killed her. Cue “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.”

Dorothy now wears the wicked one’s ruby red slippers and is protected by their power.

Young boys and girls play the munchkins this time, and they are precious to behold. Christeen Florence, Olivia Manning, and Aubrey Claire Hennis are the elegant Lullaby League singers while Braedan Criss, Hunter Broyles, and Dallas Edwards are the pompous, self-important Lollipop Guild.  The boys’ costumes (by costume designer Sharon Murray Harrah) are a hoot.

Dorothy and her three fellow travelers (all excellent) on the yellow brick road to Emerald City each hope the wizard (a fine Jim Hesselman) can give them what they need — a brain for the scarecrow, a heart for the tin man, courage for the lion, and a way for Dorothy to get back home.

The journey’s setbacks are pretty scary as they succumb to sleepiness in a field of poppies and get captured by the Wicked Witch’s flying monkeys.

But the witch meets her end by melting when Dorothy accidentally throws water on her. That melting scene is eerily effective and mysterious.

The tearful happy ending hits its mark. That’s for sure. There’s no place like home. Agreed?

“The Wizard of Oz” runs through Aug. 18. For tickets and information call 812-288-8281, toll free 877-898-8577, or


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Entertainment News
  • "Hercules" movie poster Movie preview: “Hercules”

    Plot: Having endured his legendary twelve labors, Hercules, the Greek demigod, has his life as a sword-for-hire tested when the King of Thrace and his daughter seek his aid in defeating a tyrannical warlord.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • "Lucy" movie poster Movie preview: “Lucy”

    Plot: Writer/director Luc Besson helms this action-thriller that tracks a woman who falls prey to sinister underworld forces, but gains superhuman abilities that allow her to strike back at her oppressors.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • :Sex Tape" movie poster Movie preview: “Sex Tape”

    Plot: Though they’re still very much in love, ten years and two kids have cooled the passion for Jay and Annie. To spice up their relationship, they decide to make a home video of themselves.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • "Planes: Fire and Rescue" movie poster Movie preview: “Planes: Fire and Rescue”

    Plot: When world-famous air racer Dusty learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • "The Purge: Anarchy" movie poster Movie preview: “The Purge: Anarchy”

    Plot: A defenseless young couple find themselves stranded in the city on the one night of the year that all crime, including murder, is legal, in this self-contained sequel to the 2013 sleeper hit.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • "Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes" movie poster Movie preview: “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes”

    Plot: A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • "Snowpiercer" movie poster Movie preview: “Snowpiercer”

    Plot: In a future where a failed global-warming experiment kills off all life on the planet, the few left alive have boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels non-stop around the globe while a class system evolves.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Whaley, Charles.jpg WHALEY: DDP’s 'Mary Poppins’ worth cheering about

    Oh, if we could all have one of those roomy carpetbags like the one stuffed with everything that “Practically Perfect” nanny Mary Poppins needs to work her magic.
    Director Lee Buckholz, Derby Dinner Playhouse’s associate producer, must have had one containing the smoothly fit components he pulled together for his magical “Mary Poppins” musical.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • "Deliver Us From Evil" movie poster Movie preview: “Deliver Us From Evil”

    Plot: In a paranormal world, a N.Y. police officer and a priest team up to investigate real life demon possessions, exorcisms and werewolves after dark.

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tammy movie poster WEB.jpg Movie preview: “Tammy”

    Plot: After losing her fast food job and learning that her husband has been unfaithful, a woman hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking grandmother.

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

Easter 2014 photos

Click on any photo to purchase it.

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
2013 Photos of the year

Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.