The Wizard of Oz | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Wizard of Oz 

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Emerald City Theatre Company's hour-long show about the mixed-up Kansas girl transported to a magical world by a twister owes much more to the 1939 MGM movie than to L. Frank Baum's 1900 book. Most of the dialogue, costume designs, and songs ("Over the Rainbow," among others) are lifted right from the film. But somehow this live version feels darker than the movie, maybe because director Dado and company have come up with some pretty frightening stage equivalents for the special effects, including a fabulous ten-foot-high Wizard of Oz mask that made my four-year-old beg to go home. In fact there were a good dozen kids, all of whom looked to be under five, who did leave the show early. Still, the very qualities that make this production too scary for very young children make it more satisfying for older kids (and adults). Through 3/26: Sat-Sun 1 PM. Thu-Fri 2/10-2/18, 10:15 AM. Sun 3/6-3/20, 10:30 AM and 1 PM. Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln, 773-935-6100. $9-$12.

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