SHOWING : August 03, 2006 - August 26, 2006
[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]
Onstage Atlanta presents a musical theater concert that chronicles The Wizard of Oz, Wicked and The Wiz. This concert features the timeless story of the Wizard of Oz, the "popular" music of Wicked, and the energetic numbers from The Wiz. Musical selecions include "Defying Gravity", "Ease on Down the Road" and "Somewhere over the Rainbow" to name a few. Join the cast as they take you on a magical reminiscent journey down the yellow brick road.
[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]
Thoroughly Entertaining Evening!|
Friday, August 18, 2006 ||
Having just recently seeing Wicked at the Fox and being a long time fan of The Wizard of Oz and The Wiz, I admit that I went to this production with a bit of hesitancy. I have never really been a fan of Scott Rousseau original shows - too much exposition and cornball humor that is better suited for children's shows or Six Flags. And while some of that exists here - I was still very entertained by the talent that Onstage has gathered.|
Not only did I get to see some old favorites - I was also pleasantly surprised by some new faces - Tawana Johnson and J'Nai Walker both rocked in their Wiz numbers and were sorely underused. As was Tala Al-Khudairi. Why they didn't have the opportunity to shine more is a mystery.
However, I didn't mind hearing Kristie Krabe sing - I never do. Her rendition of "Be A Lion" was so powerful, yet endearing. And her take on "Popular" was wonderful. I loved the intereaction she and Laine Binder had together there and in "For Good"
The ensemble numbers were hit and miss. They opened strong with "One Short Day" and dazzled us with an a cappella version of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" but group numbers like "No One Mourns The Wicked" and "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead" were at times painful.
I, too, noticed a bit of disconnect with the band and often felt the musicians were too loud (this is a common problem at this theater).
All in all, though, I enjoyed myself and found myself clapping along to the finale. I would recommend this show. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Ease on down the entertaining (and a little bumpy) road.|
Sunday, August 13, 2006 ||
I have seen many shows at OnStage Atlanta, and I can honestly say that whenever I venture out to their latest production, I never know what to expect. I have seen some shows, like URINETOWN, which would have belonged on any professional stage-where every single actor down to the last ensemble member was super talented, focused, and in-character every moment. Then again, I've seen productions like LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION! which was slow, uninspired, and miscast.|
THE OZ CHRONICLES hits somewhere in the middle. The cast is a mixture of seasoned veterans and green newbies, and in the group numbers, the mixture works really well. It seems that the more inexperienced actors take their cue from the old pros and sing out loud and strong, and the old pros seem to absorb the fresh enthusiasm from the new guys. Unfortunately, some of the more spotlight moments highlight those new folks and show that they just don't have the confidence and comfort level to be out there on their own yet.
For example, Emily Dillson just seemed awkward in her acting moments, and her voice wasn't suited to the songs she was given. I could hear a huskiness that would be really great in a jazzy kind of number, so I hope to hear her again in a role more suited to her voice.
Another new guy was Joel Walker, who had a nice voice and good instinct, but was hesitant to fully commit to his choices. I think with good direction and experience, Emily and Joel will both grow into fine performers.
Clinton Dillard has an amazing voice! His acting has a lot of potential, but it comes across a little presentational at times. He's so smooth and polished that the message of the song can get a little lost. I look forward to watching him develop his acting to match his musicality.
Megan Hodge was simply given too much. She has a pleasant voice, and her first duet with Glinda worked pretty well, but "No Good Deed" is simply more difficult than she could handle. Also, her moments of diva fits when she wants to be Dorothy weren't believable. She's just not a diva...but she should keep working on it.
Amanda Pickard is another performer who might have been in over her head. She has a light, soprano voice, and when she's singing the right songs, she's noteworthy. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" sounded pretty, but didn't grow into much. And "The Wizard and I" simply requires more power than she has. Also, she often times appears like her mind has wandered, so she disconnects from the audience.
Kristie Krabe, as one of the obvious veterans, is a bright spot in OZ. Though her voice is not perfect, she is a wonderful performer and she gives it 100%. Her performace of "Popular" was quirky and fun. We almost never see perfection, especially in a community theatre where the actors do it for the love and not the money, but this lady reaches for it!
Laine Binder is another familiar face in this show. Her stage presence is always powerful and she has a voice to match. I've seen her in many roles, and although I have not always agreed with her interpretation of her character, she is always fully committed. She has a voice that is very unique and strong, and I have often wished that she didn't feel like she had to prove it. "Defying Gravity" is a huge song, and Laine sings it well, but by the end, it was hard to watch and listen because she was almost screaming. My advice to her is to relax and be confident in your ability-true talent shines through it doesn't have to be forced.
There were several other performances that deserve honorable mention, but because actors play multiple roles, I am unsure of their names. The lady who never got to sing "Believe" was fun to watch, and I was disappointed she didn't get to finsh that song. "No Bad News" was a toe tapper and well done. The young lady in the blue dress whose only solo appeared at the end of the show was completely wasted as a vocalist-she had a lovely, legit soprano voice that should have been featured much more. Michael Sullivan and Chris Vickery were both so fun & quirky in their roles as Scare Crow and Tin Man, that the imperfections in their voices were easily forgiven.
A few observations about the band. Although the music director, Mitch Weisiger, was obviously capable, as evidenced by the choral number where he came out from behind the keyboard and conducted a beautiful rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," at other times I don't think he was listening to the singers on stage. Tempos were sometimes off, and although the singers tried to push it or slow it, the band never seemed to get there. That being said, I have to compliment all the instrumentalists-their talent and skill in their craft was impressive.
Lastly, I want to comment on the direction and writing of this show. The concept is brilliant and I expect it will have mass appeal. As with his Christmas show, Scott Rousseau has very unique and creative ideas, but he gets bogged down in the history lesson. Although I undertand why he wants to highlight the "real" people behind what we're seeing on the stage, it gets a little boring when you try to pack too much information between songs. This problem is then compounded by not having someone else direct the show. When the material is your baby, I would expect that it would be painful to cut anything-you are unable to see the forest for the trees, so to speak. A collaborative effort with Scott and a talented director would probably have produced a better final product.
Overall, On Stage has produced another quality show. OZ is not perfect, but it is definitely worth seeing. Thank you to everyone involved. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
| || In Complete Agreement by Cavendish|
| Excellent review from my viewpoint. I also attended this show and had the same praise and constructive critcism as you did. The show is worth attending especially if you enjoy the three productions it is based upon.|
| || But Not The Rating by Cavendish|
| As mentioned, I agree with your comments, but I don't agree with your rating. I would give it a 3.5 if such a rating existed. Slightly above average for a community theater production.|
| || cavendish by mark|
| so why don't you review? i'm going to try myself for the first time.|
| || Review? by Cavendish|
| Go for it, Mark. Good for you. I look forward to reading your first effort. I choose, for now, not to review because I've found my opinion changes with each passing day. My first impression will be different compared to what I think a few days later. I have trouble removing myself from the emotional impact of a show to be truly impartial. Granted, no theater lover is truly impartial. Sometimes we know people in the show. Other times it may be a show we've always loved and held dear to our hearts. I have trouble separating the emotion and the objectivity. A good reviewer, IMO, should be as objective as humanly possible. I'm fearful I will be too hard or too easy on someone I know personally. It reminds me of some teachers I had in my youth who would give me a lower grade than I deserved because she didn't like me or, conversely, a higher grade because she favored me. Alas, we're all human. One of these days I will review a show that I've never seen before or in many years, and in which there are no performers with whom I am personally acquainted. I believe there is a production in Tahiti which fits my requirements. Too bad I'm not in Tahiti. I could use some sun.|
My comments are in no way intended to undermine the sincere efforts of the several quality reviewers on this site. This is just my personal preference.
I will add one caveat if I may. There have been reviewers who have made reference to the shows they've reviewed as being one of their favorites or top five or whatever. These are reviews I choose to ignore as the reviewer is admitting to a deeply entrenched bias.
| || Agree and Disagree by CRITICSANONYMOUS|
| First off, I disagree with your critique of the young Emily Dillson. This talented young girl was never awkward to me plus she had an a fine stage quality.|
However I must qualify my comments so far to say I agree with your critique of Scott Rousseau. Here he does get bogged down in the details and was in way over his head with the material at hand.
Something that has not yet been mentioned in the reviews to this point is how fabulous the costumes are in this show - well done!
| || Music Director by DecaturMusicGuy|
| I have to say in Mitch's defense, this was his first musical (and his last) musicical that he has ever done (not to mention directing). He is a church musician and holds a large church in the metro Atlanta area. In addition, Mitch could NOT hear the singers well. The sound system was poor and he went with where he thought things coiuld go. Remember, it is easier for a soloist to folllow an accompanist than it is for a accompanist for follow a singer where ther accompanist can not hear the singer.|
Good Job Mitch and keep trying the Broadway thing. The more you do it the more comfortable you get. Soon it will be second nature as playing a Prelude and Fugue by Bach is to you now.
Uneven but a good time|
Sunday, August 13, 2006 ||
Intrigued by the review in SOVO, I ventured out to Onstage for this show. The show turned out to be an entertaining even, and while I agree with the SOVO take on the show, I wildly disagree on others.|
First off, I kind of enjoyed the history lesson between songs. Sometimes it did seem awkward when the lesson was weaved into the middle of a song (Defying Gravity) but other wise I didn't mind it.
I did feel that there were a few people who may have been miscast. Some of the songs were just too difficult for some of the singers, while on the other hand, there were a few singers I would have liked to hear more from (especially the stunning Tala Al-Khudairi).
I have to disagree with Mr. Farmer about the stand out performer, though. While I enjoy hearing Laine Binder in character roles and like o watch her perform, my favorite was Kristie Krabe. Not only is this an amazing vocalist (that is a given anytime she is in a show) this is also a great actress. I think I would like to see her play Glinda on Broadway (or heck, even Elphie - I would have liked to hear her sing Defying Gravity, Ms. Binder's version was just too abrasive for me). Also amazing was Tawana Johnson and Clinton Dillard. And the suprise for me was J'Nai Walker who delivered a house shaking rendition of No Bad News.
At times I felt like the band was not paying attention to the actors. Songs either moved at breakneck speed or suddenly got stuck in the mud, and nothing the actors did could fix the situation.
All in all, though, and enjoyable evening with most of my favorite songs from all the shows.
[POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
| || SOVO.com by Cavendish|
| I checked out the review for Onstage's "Oz" on SOVO.com and found it to be accurate and interesting. FYI just another source for theater input.|
[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]
by David Shire (music), Richard Maltby, Jr. (lyrics)