It’s time to see the Wizard! The Wizard of Oz, a million-dollar co-production between the Kansas City Ballet, Colorado Ballet, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) makes its highly anticipated Canadian premiere this week (May 1-5) at the Centennial Concert Hall as the classic tale is brought to life through RWB Company dancers. Choreographer Septime Webre’s vivid retelling of Frank L. Baum’s beloved story of family, friendship, and courage sold out performances in the US and is expected to do so in Winnipeg.
Tonight’s performance was a visual masterpiece with the costumes, lighting, and set design creating the perfect stage for this modern-day version of the story we all know and love. This is not about the 1939 film version–this version is colourful and vivid with a score that dazzles and draws on our emotions about fear, isolation, and the search for home in a strange, unfamiliar land. There is no “Over the Rainbow” but you will see Dorothy inspire her motley crew to face their fears and if you can take your eyes off that spectacular puppy puppet that is Toto you have far better concentration than me! Toto is not a real dog in this stage version but is very much brought to life by Cameron Fraser-Monroe under the tutelage of puppetry designer Nicholas Mahon.
Our three unlikely heroes travel to the Emerald City to see the Wizard and triumph over the Wicked Witch. Tonight’s performance brought the audience to their feet as the curtain fell and kids of all ages were moved by this bold, new spectacle of music, costumes, sets, projections, and special effects. This might be the first time a royal-designated ballet managed to effortlessly incorporate flossing and dabbing into their choreography without compromising any esteem.
Huge kudos to costume designer Liz Vandal. The costumes are visually stunning and fully versatile for the dancers. The mix of colours, prints, and esthetic is a testament to this self-taught fashion visionary.
With tickets starting at $25 the Wizard of Oz by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet is a treat for all the senses and for everyone who is a kid at heart. PLEASE NOTE: The RWB and WSO do NOT use third-party sites to sell tickets. To purchase tickets, access the Centennial Concert Hall website ONLY. Reserve your seats NOW here.