Today I saw the Dallas Theatre Centers production of the The Wiz. As we entered the theatre I noticed that the balconies that were normally their, were gone to make way for a very interactive show. We were then taken to our seats or 'pods', we sit down and take in the rather cramped small acting area where the show takes place. Lights come up and we see Dorthy in the dress made famous by Judy Garland in the 1939 classic. The set for the first scene was a backdrop and a house built in prospective complete with close line. One of my favorite things watching the Wizard of Oz is the tornado. I have seen some really impressive scenes throughout the years, houses have been flown above and across the stage with computer graphic and built tornadoes ripping across, so I was rather excited to see the tornado scene here. So... we see lights flicker, scenery we see before us is flown above the stage, house twirls around, and the the front row, or front row pods, were broken apart and and were swept away onto the now very large stage. It was like being at Universal Studios riding 'The Wiz Musical Experience'. I think it was about 4-5 sections that broke apart and took the audince for a spin for the first scene. So then we catch up with scarecrow. Scarecrow came into are moving pod and sang, even slapped me on the leg, no kidding, stumbled around and won are hearts. Scene change time came around. Are pod section broke apart and moved, literally, down the yellow brick road. It truly made you feel like you were in the show, I mean you have scarecrows slapping you on the leg, you are in the show and all over the stage, even lit with the lights. This experienece continued throughout the entire production. You didn't know where you were going to end up, you didn't even know who you would be next to. I would say about 65% of the entire audience were in the 'pods' and were taken for a spin. The evil, wicked ol witch made her dramatic exit through a lift in the floor. The scenery was minimal but very effective. I think this type of show will pave the way for non theatre goers to make in to see a show. Was this enjoyable? YES! This show did a few things. Number one: entertained us. Number two: cooled us down from this awful Texas heat. And number three: made it feel like we got on a plane to visit Universal Studios without having to spend the money on a hotel room. Kudos to The Dallas Theatre Center for introducing us to a new experience in the theatre. I would love to see a show or two like this introduce itself to Broadway. I mean could you imagine riding Wicked the Musical?!
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Disaster! The Musical