Sunday, October 26, 2014


                                        PHOTOS BY JULIA GERACE

Dorothy and Toto have skipped along the Yellow Brick Road all the way from Kansas to the Land of Oz.  Their adventures with the Scarecrow (Jimmy Johansmeyer), the Tin Man (Justin Rugg) and the Lion (Andrea Pane) are legendary.  But now our spunky heroine is back among the corn fields with her Auntie Em (George Spelvin) and her Uncle Henry (Jimmy Johansmeyer) and she is bored, bored, bored.  But not for long!

Follow the magical road of yellow bricks, courtesy of master map makers Pantochino Productions to their delightfully entertaining spoof "The Wicked Witch of the West Kansas or Bust!" playing weekends until Sunday, November 2 at the Milford Center for the Arts, 40 Railroad Avenue, Milford.

Think green and mean and before you can say "Munchkins" three times who should appear but that scary madame of malice The Wicked Witch of the West, wonderfully captured by Shelley Marsh Poggio.  She has a specific agenda:  to get  back her magical powers, her broom and her ravishing ruby slippers.  To accomplish this, she must, at all costs and comedy, find Dorothy who stole them away from her, right under her pickled green nose.

Dorothy is portrayed by the adorable pigtailed sweetheart, Mary Mannix, who is plum full of spirit and perkiness. With her trio of hearty and trusted cohorts, the Lion, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man, they all set off to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz, another characterization assumed by the versatile George Spelvin.  It's rumored that the Wizard is in possession of all the good stuff.

That road of yellow is getting mighty crowded as the ragged Vagabelle kids, Elrod (Matthew Ranilla), Faylene (Hazel Foley) and Billy Jay Ray (Jay Maroney) are also on the trail of the treasure.  And don't forget that big green lady who's determined to get all her goodies back.

Thankfully Dorothy remembers to ask for help from her friend from her last giant adventure and the Good Witch Glinda (Rachael Dugas) flies in with a little comforting advice.  Bert Bernardi has outdone himself in the clever department as this show is filled to the top of the corn fields with genuine humor (most of it corny).  Justin Rugg's music, like the Wicked Witch's "I'm Back with a Vengeance," adds a delightful liveliness to the action. Jimmy Johansmeyer's costumes are a Halloween hoot.

For tickets ($18 online, $20 at the door), go to  Performances are Saturday at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Polish your crystal ball, practice your cackles, look for rainbows and bluebirds and bring a big glass of water for you-know-who!

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