It was lions and tigers and bears, oh my, this Saturday, as I ventured to the theater as a treat to myself.
Really, it was lions and witches and flying monkeys, oh my!
There was a yellow brick road and Dorothy did follow it right to the Great Wizard himself, who ditches her at the last minute, by mistake, or so he says. He calls down to her, as he’s drifting away in his balloon, that her glittery red shoes were the key to getting home all along. He could have said that at the beginning, don’t you think?
The musical was Saturday and, I’m sorry to say, the last day of this stellar production at the Lesher Center. My very good friend, Barb, came along too because she’s fun and the Wizard of Oz is probably her favorite thing ever.
She loves everything about the musical and, if you call her (don’t worry Barb, I won’t list your cell phone number), you will be treated to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" as her ringback tone. Sometimes I don’t want her to answer, so I can hear the rest of the song.
On the way to the Walnut Creek Lesher Center of Arts, I asked Barb what character she wanted to be. Not that we’d shove the characters off the stage and take over (how fun would that be?), but what character do you see yourself being in real life.
I was hoping she would not say Cowardly Lion and then be all growly or worse yet, those wicked flying monkeys. Barb declared she wanted to be Glenda, the good witch, because she’s beautiful and so good -- she doesn’t have an ounce of evil in her whole body, which is the opposite of the Wicked Witch of the West.
Oh, that green meanie is so nasty with that cackling laugh and the flying monkeys, it had me scared and yet I still love her.
Barb picked Glenda, who I always thought I wanted to be, but I obviously needed to be a different character, right? Plus, could I really be that nice and sweet all the time? So I gave it some thought and picked Dorothy.
I have to be honest, she wears those ruby red slippers (which I covet) and I can relate to her feeling lost, trying to get herself back home or back to where she belongs, something I found hard to do when we first moved to the Bay Area.
Dorothy is also a kind character and compassionate, as she helps others along the way and never, for a moment, thinks of leaving that sniveling lion to his own pathetic issues.
As a note I shopped for glittery red shoes, I saw the kid version at Target, but couldn’t manage to wedge my size 8½ foot in the biggest kid shoes. Drats and no fair!!! Halloween will soon be here, but better yet, I think I’ll buy white heels and glitter them red. Won’t Barb be so jealous?
The show was amazing, including Dorothy really flying through the air during the tornado and with the monkeys? Oh yeah, they were flying, I was hoping they wouldn’t fly right into the audience and pick me up like they did Dorothy and poor Toto, who was a real tail-wagging dog.
Apparently, they auditioned several dogs and this one did a terrific job! Toto didn’t even look too concerned about the monkeys flying around; he should be the one in charge of the lion, that’s for sure! He’d give that guy courage!
The show followed the classical story, exactly down to the minute detail, including Dorothy throwing a bucket of water (don’t worry, it was just something resembling water) on the Wicked Witch who cries out, “I’m melting, I’m melting!” as she disappears on stage, in puffs of smoke. Whew, I hope her minions, those monkeys went with her!
One thing the show added that I do not think I have seen in previous renditions was the FUNKMODE dancers who really added a lot to the show. The Munchkins, those cute little buggers, danced and sang their way around the Munchkin Land and everyone, even the monkeys, eeeek, danced too to all the classical songs. I love watching the choreographed dancing; it really added a whole new feel to the show.
Barb and I thoroughly enjoyed this Wizard of Oz, a great feel good classic, and we didn’t even need a yellow brick road to find our way back to San Ramon, unless you count I-680.
I was sad the Wizard of Oz is over for this theater, but I picked up a brochure and discovered several really good musicals coming up, including White Christmas, another great classic.
The Diablo Theater Company is an affordable treat, comparable in price and quality to things I have seen at our own San Ramon theater at the Doughtery Valley High School and the new Community Center. We are so lucky to have these venues in our very own backyards.
Have fun in your ruby slippers and don’t forget those flying monkeys can really be quite tricky!
For more information, go to the Walnut Creek Diablo Theatre website: http://diablotheatre.org/ and our own San Ramon theatre website: http://www.ci.san-ramon.ca.us/parks/theater/default.htm.