There might be no place like home, but for a couple of hours, there’s also no place like the stage at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Aurora. Everything from the quiet before the storm to the brilliant green set for the Emerald City captures the essence of “The Wizard of Oz.”
One patron was overheard during intermission saying that Elizabeth Stenholt was channeling the late Judy Garland. Stenholt’s Dorothy combined with incredible performances by her yellow brick road traveling companions makes the show a joy to watch. A flexible scarecrow, a strong yet cowardly lion, and an endearing tinman join the adventure, and the audience isn’t far behind as they are pulled into the dream as director Amber Mak stretches the scenes into the historic playhouse.
The puppets and constantly changing set both work throughout to pull the audience into the spectacular world of Oz. When the newfound friends arrive at Oz, the emerald world dazzles and the show’s choreography is able to shine. The fantastic set design wows, and the monochrome stage awes.
Through it all, Toto serves as Dorothy’s trusty friend and is mighty adorable on stage. Glinda (Harriet Nzinga Plumpp) gives a spirited and bright take on the Good Witch, and Caron Buinis is spot on as the Wicked Witch. Gene Weygandt as Oz gives the audience some warmth and wit in a memorable performance.
The fiesty trees, the flying monkeys, and the energetic jitterbugs are all impressive.
It’s easy to escape to Oz in the confines of the Paramount Theatre now playing through January 6.
For tickets, visit ParamountAurora.com, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount box office, 23 E. Galena Blvd. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.