THE WIZARD OF OZ presented the Cincinnati Ballet runs through Nov. 3. I attended the Halloween evening performance. 

CB_Dorothy and the Munckins

Melissa Gelfin as Dorothy and the Munchkins.

In her curtain speech, Artistic Director Victoria Morgan described this production of THE WIZARD OF OZ as ballet meets Broadway. While the production values are easily equal to current touring Broadway productions, the dance artistry if always forefront in this wonderfully entertaining production for all ages.

The main characters are enchanting to watch as they perform choreographer Septime Webre’s amazing work: Melissa Gelfin as Dorothy, Sirui Liu as Aunt Em/Glinda, Maizyalet Velazquez as Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch of the West, Cervilio Miguel Amador as Hunk/Scarecrow, Taylor Carrasco as Hickory/Tin Man, Michael Mengden as Zeke/Lion and Luca De-Poli as Professor Marvel/Wizard of Oz. They are supported by an incredibly strong ensemble who make the bigger numbers a joy to watch. Toto is brought to amusing and scene-stealing (in a good way) life by puppeteer Sterling Manka.

CB_The Scarecrow and the Yellow Brick Roadies

Cervilio Miguel Amador as the Scarecrow and the Yellow Brick Roadies.

Visually the show is stunning; from the limited pallet at the beginning of the show to the explosion of color when Dorothy opens the door to catch her first glimpse of the Land of Oz. The looks of the leading characters, while not traditional, are stunningly unique and readily identifiable. Liz Vandal’s imaginative costume designs make every scene memorable: the children’s grasshoppers in Munchkinland, the Yellow Brick Roadies, the citizens of the Emerald city, and the Winkies guard are just a few highlights.

CB_Emerald City Selfie

Taylor Carrasco as Tin Man, Cervilio Miguel Amador as Scarecrow, Sterling Manka as “Toto,” Melissa Gelfin as Dorothy & Michael Mengden as Lion in the Emerald City.

There is a great balance to the various elements of the show. The visual special effects, the flying of the multiple characters, the children’s ensemble, and even the humor are perfectly integrated into the production. None of these elements feel over-used or out of place.

Everything good thing you have heard about this production is true. As my guests remarked, this could easily have a return engagement in a couple of years and be just as successful.

Thank you for an unforgettable experience.

P.S. Where can I get a Toto puppet for Christmas? Asking for a friend… 

My rating: 5 out of 5.

Click here for more information on the production.

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