Joel Grey later played The Wizard of Oz in the Broadway stage production of "Wicked" which was a re-imaging of Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz story from the viewpoint of the Good Witch of the North and the Wicked Witch of the West. See more »
First off, I am absolutely not a fan of "concert" versions of musicals. Take the time, spend the money, and do it right. When you have the talent that this production assembled, it seems a sin to do a half-baked version of the classic musical.
The only way I can recommend this production is to tell everyone reading this: close your eyes. That's right, just close your eyes and imagine how great it would have been if the visuals came close to matching what you hear. This story just can't be done properly in "concert". It cries out for full staging.
The performers are quite accomplished (with one exception), and it is always a treat to hear the Jitterbug number (cut from the 1939 film) and those extra bits of dialogue and lyrics that never made it into the earlier version.
For me, this version was made almost unwatchable by Jewel. Just about every song she sang was butchered and horribly mangled by her vocal "style". I've never heard those classic songs destroyed the way she destroyed them. It was jaw-dropping and excruciating to watch and hear. Someone should have stepped in (maybe the director?), forced her to look at the original score, and made her sing the songs as they were written. Awful. Just plain awful.
So, close your eyes, enjoy the moments you can, and - above all - Beware of Jewel.
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