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Review: Spokane Civic Theatre off to great start in ‘Oz’

Sept. 17, 2022 Updated Sun., Sept. 18, 2022 at 9:05 p.m.

Spokane Civic Theatre’s production of ‘The Wizard of Oz” opens this weekend.  (Chris Bovey)
Spokane Civic Theatre’s production of ‘The Wizard of Oz” opens this weekend. (Chris Bovey)

Spokane Civic Theatre’s production of “The Wizard of Oz” opened Friday to an enthusiastic audience. It was community theater in all the best ways.

Based on L. Frank Baum’s classic tale, “The Wizard of Oz” features iconic music from the 1939 film of the same name. Directed by Kathie Doyle-Lipe with music director Henry McNulty, the stage adaptation follows a young girl as she travels from Kansas, over the rainbow and on to the fantastical Land of Oz.

The principle characters were great all around, but I have to give major props to Dorothy (Nicole Ostlie) and her trio of companions. Jonah Taylor gave a real charm to the Tin Man. Jameson Elton’s physical vocabulary as the Scarecrow was downright impressive. And Jeremy Trigsted as the Cowardly Lion just about had me falling out of my chair.

From “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to “We’re Off to See the Wizard,” the majority of songs in this show are so well known, it was a struggle not to sing along.

The Munchkins, on stage and in the audience, were as adorable as you would expect.

There were the typical sound issues and other opening-night snafus, which included a hilariously well-played-off wardrobe malfunction and frequent adorable antics from little Gracie Sybouts, the 14½-year-old Maltese/Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix in the role of Toto. But all in all this show was a joy to watch.

Staged on the Margot and Robert Ogden Main Stage, shows begin at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays through Oct. 16. Performances on Saturday and Oct. 8 will begin at 2 p.m. For information, visit spokanecivictheatre.com or call (509) 325-2507.

Reviewed Friday at 7:30 p.m.

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