Danielle Wade as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.”
Monday, Sept. 9, 2013 | 5:25 p.m.
Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz
It’s time again to follow the yellow brick road, go somewhere over the rainbow and celebrate Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new production of the all-time classic “The Wizard of Oz.” The musical opens for a run of eight spectacular shows at Smith Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, kicking off a North American tour.
The Tin Man, Scarecrow, Lion and of course Dorothy and Toto will all be onstage to journey to the magical land of Oz to meet the Wizard in this fantastic musical treat for the family. Along the way are witches and munchkins! Lord Webber, knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1992, collaborated with longtime partner Tim Rice to add six songs to the original score.
What amazing longevity this tale has had since its 1939 movie birth. I wasn’t even born back then, and I’m pretty old now! Here’s a YouTube video of a very young Judy Garland playing Dorothy and singing “Somewhere (Over the Rainbow)” in that seven-decade-old movie.
It was almost a year ago that the blue-and-white gingham dress she wore for the film brought in $480,000 at a Beverly Hills auction, so “The Wizard of Oz” memories are very valuable.
The children’s novel written by L. Frank Baum in 1900 went on to inspire 16 books on the subject of good and bad witches — including the wildly popular Tony Award-winning “Wicked” — in the land of Oz (the British shorthand for ounces of gold). Its first stage incarnation was in Chicago in 1902 before its 1903 debut Broadway production.
The show arriving in Las Vegas has just wrapped an eight-month run in Toronto, where Toronto Sun theater critic John Coulbourn waxed: “From the very opening scenes, an audience gets swept up in a tornado of musical-theater cliches that hits them like a flying house.”
And Toronto Star theater critic Richard Ouzounian added, “The ensemble is full of attractive and talented young people, Danielle Wade (20 years old from Ontario) is a sweet and natural Dorothy singing with emotion, acting with honesty and giving it all she’s got.”
However, he did warn: “When it comes to musicals, the British like them the way they like their high teas — long and sweet, with the crusts cut off each sandwich and clotted cream on all the pastries.”
Danielle won a “Canada’s Got Talent” show with Lord Webber as one of the judges to win the title role for the musical’s Canadian run and now opens here to launch the North American tour.
I’ll give you another British verdict of the brightly colored show here on Wednesday.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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Smith Center for the Performing Arts The Smith Center for the Performing Arts offers a blend of performances by resident companies and touring attractions. The 5-acre cultural campus features three performance spaces, which includes a main performance area with more than 2,000 seats. This downtown cultural center of Las Vegas looks to educate, entertain and excite community members.
To provide and preserve a high-quality performing arts center that is embraced by the community and recognized as a vital force by supporting artistic excellence, education and inspiration for all.
To entertain, educate, enrich and inspire the southern Nevada community.
Thanks to the generous support of our dedicated founders, members, donors and community partners, The Smith Center continues to provide a wide variety of services for Southern Nevada residents, including access to world-class performances, inspirational Education and Outreach programs for students and teachers, and a unique space to host events, meetings and special occasions. Celebrating our fifth season, we depend upon public support to fulfill our mission and serve as the Heart of the Arts® for many years to come.
With ticket sales covering just 75 percent of our operating budget for each season, the remaining 25 percent comes from the community we serve. Philanthropic support at all levels helps provide programming that entertains, educates, enriches and inspires. By giving to The Smith Center, you play a vital role in providing an important resource for our community.
There are many opportunities to volunteer and play a direct role with your community’s performing arts complex. Volunteers engage with staff and patrons to enhance experiences at The Smith Center, and can serve in various capacities including tour guide/docent, usher, security team member or community ambassador. As important members of The Smith Center team, volunteers help us remain financially sustainable and provide numerous services for the community. Please show your support for The Smith Center’s mission by gifting your time and unique skills.
Members’ annual support provides crucial resources for The Smith Center’s artistic programming, education opportunities and cultural enrichment each year. There are a variety of giving options and levels, and Members receive exclusive benefits and behind-the-scenes opportunities based on their level of support. To learn more, please visit www.thesmithcenter.com/support-us/members.
The Encore Society recognizes those generous donors who have included The Smith Center as a part of their estate plan. Corporate Sponsorship is available to companies to underwrite all, or part, of a program, performance or event.
Fanfare! is The Smith Center’s young progressional networking organization, open to anyone with an interest in the performing arts who is between the ages of 21-40. And our Show Dedication allows for the celebration of an individual or special occasion with unique recognition opportunities during a specific performance.
The Smith Center provides world-class performing arts and outreach and education throughout the Southern Nevada region.
The organization originally formed in 1996 as the Las Vegas Performing Arts Center.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Myron G. Martin President and CEO Donald D. Snyder Chairman Dr. Keith Boman Vice Chairman Mark Tratos Secretary Michael Yackira Treasurer David Dunn Alan M. Feldman Richard Haddrill Fred Hipwell Nancy Houssels Todd-Avery Lenahan Scott MacTaggart Jerry Nadal John Nelson Richard Plaster Rory Reid Kim Sinatra Roger P. Thomas
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