'Over the Rainbow' leads to Segerstrom

Come Tuesday, Dorothy's yellow brick road will pass through the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

The Costa Mesa venue will host the first North American tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's new stage adaptation until Feb. 23.

Along with songs from the timeless MGM screenplay, this production features new tunes created by Webber and Tim Rice. Kicking off in London's West End in 2011, it also thrilled audiences in Toronto.

"Wizard of Oz" stars Danielle Wade — tapped by the Canadian public through CBC TV's reality casting show, "Over the Rainbow" — as Dorothy, Jacquelyn Piro Donovan as the Wicked Witch of the West, Robin Evan Willis as Glinda, and Cedric Smith as the Wizard. Tony Award-winning animal trainer William Berloni, who has long worked with rescued animals, coached the show's Toto.

The company has been directed by Jeremy Sams, while Robert Jones constructed the set and costume design.

"It will be great to experience the story, the score and great classic songs live in the theater," said center President Terry Dwyer.

Dwyer, who said he saw the Oscar-winning film hundreds of times and witnessed a stage performance as part of the Segerstrom Center's Broadway Series in 1999, believes the story that includes the Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion and even winged monkeys is a tale woven around the importance of family and friends.

"I think nearly every child sees the movie," he said. "It is almost a national treasure passed down from generation to generation. It has a great message about the adventures in life. I'm sure there are many of us who want to know what's beyond the rainbow."

If You Go

What: "The Wizard of Oz"

Where: Segerstrom Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday from Feb. 11 to 23

Cost: Starting at $29

Information: http://www.scfta.org or (714) 556-2787


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