Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new production of The Wizard of Oz is an enchanting adaptation of the all-time classic, totally reconceived for the stage by the award-winning creative team that recently delighted London and Toronto audiences with the revival of The Sound of Music. Developed from the ever-popular MGM screenplay, this new production contains all the beloved songs from the Oscar-winning movie score, all the favorite characters and iconic moments, plus a few surprises along the way, including new songs by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Click your heels together and join Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, Dorothy and her little dog Toto as they journey through the magical land of Oz to meet the Wizard and obtain their hearts’ desires. Watch out for the Wicked Witch of the West and her winged monkeys as you rediscover the real story of Oz in this fantastic musical treat for all the family.
A month ago I was privileged to be invited to a luncheon at The Broward Center where lead actresses Danielle Wade (Dorothy) and Jacquelyn Piro Donovan (Wicked Witch) were the special guests. After a wonderful luncheon which included a live performance from each of them (trust, south Florida is in for a treat) my good buddy, Rod Hagwood of the Sun Sentinel, sat down and did a mini interview with both Danielle and Jacquelyn.
However, before we get to the interview, let me tell you a bit about Danielle and Jacquelyn. Danielle is only 21 and captured the hearts of the viewers of the CBC television show “Over the Rainbow” which she won and then went on to lead the Canadian company in Oz’s North American Premiere. She is thrilled to be reprising her role for the tour. Jacquelyn has been performing for more than 20 years and her Broadway/tour credits include Les Miserables (Cosette and Fantine, the only actor in Broadway’s original production to play both roles), Miss Saigon (Ellen), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Mama Who), Sunset Boulevard (Betty), Big (Susan), The Secret Garden (Lily), Sweet Adeline (Encores!), and off-Broadway: I Remember Mama, Under the Bridge, The Ark, Have a Nice Life, Closer Than Ever, 110 in the Shade (Helen Hayes Award), Seven Bridges for Seven Brothers (CT Critics Award), and many more.
What do you each bring to these iconic roles?
Danielle – I hope I bring a little bit of myself to it as no one will ever be Judy Garland. I want to bring the same integrity that she did in my own way. My Dorothy is a little more of a tomboy, she is contemporary and upfront. I think she is a little more relatable to today’s time.
Jacquelyn – Well, it was very challenging to try and have homage to Margaret Hamilton, the original Wicked Witch. That Wicked Witch would not entertain for 2 ½ hours on stage, so I tried to ride the line of evil and funny. It’s a very fine line, but as I said if I did mean the whole time it wouldn’t work.
What is your favorite part of the show?
Danielle – I have two favorite parts. The first is when I sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (Danielle sang this at the luncheon and all I can say is WOW!). I have now sung it at 350 live performances (plus rehearsals) and I am still not anywhere near tired of the song. The second is the goodbye scene as it is so human and is something everyone can relate to.
Jacquelyn – It’s an odd choice, but it is my last scene because I am torturing Dorothy so much and it’s so intense. I am staring at Dorothy and venom is flying out of me.
What’s the best thing about working with each other?
Danielle – Jacquelyn is a wonderful person and her wicked laugh gets me every time.
I have to ask you Jacquelyn, how do you do the Wicked Witch laugh? It’s quite amazing.
Jacquelyn – Believe it or not, it’s the way I normally laugh, so it is second nature for me. My family and friends say I was born for this role!
The Wizard of Oz will be playing at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts from January 7 – January 19 and tickets range from $34.50 – $89.50. They can be purchased at BrowardCenter.org.