Original 'Oz' Adaptation From Prince Street Players

Comic flying monkeys, capering Munchkins, plus Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion dancing and singing their way through Ozian adventures--it was a lively production of "The Wizard of Oz" that romped into the La Mirada Civic Theater Saturday.

The Detroit-based Prince Street Players, a 25-year-old company known for its family theater, was making a welcome Junior Programs tour stop with an original musical adaptation of the Frank Baum classic.

There were no pyrotechnics, no hidden wire acrobatics, no MGM score and no Toto.

Professionalism, simplicity and an ingratiating sense of humor made it work, even when director Jim Eiler, who kept things humming at a breezy clip for the most part, allowed an excess of expository dialogue toward the end and one overlong musical number, "Wicked Witch Stew."

There were vivid costumes by Carmen Cavello, tuneful music by Eiler and Jeanne Bargy, and the simple storybook look of A. Norman Hamlin's sets.

Live accompaniment was provided by Craig R. Galinski at the keyboard and by percussionist Fredrick Gibson. There was also an appealing cast of adults, bouncing vigorously through Nira Pullin's zesty choreography.

The company concluded its all-too-brief visit to the Southland with two performances at Smothers Theater on Sunday.

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