I’ve entered into the wacky world of Ross Petty Productions with my kids in tow (two boys ages 7 and 11). It’s quickly apparent that this is NOT the Wizard of OZ that I’m use to. We were told that WOOHOOS and BOOS were encouraged at this year’s hilarious stage production and it definitely doesn’t take place in Kansas… but I still covet those ruby red shoes!
The punch-lines (ie. cheap shots at Toronto) kept the audience roaring with laughter and wanting more. We were surrounded by regulars – fans who come ever year to check out Ross Petty’s latest holiday musical. He’s been entertaining families for 16 years taking famous children’s stories and twisting them to something more current and interactive. This is no “you must behave” musical. The more you get involved, the more the cast gives you.
The cast is a strong ensemble of entertainers. Jessica Holmes plays the Good Witch Splenda that had us mimicking Bugs Bunny’s voice for days afterwards. Well-regarded Stratford actor Dan Chameroy re-invents his signature role of Aunt Plumbum von Botox – he also played one of Cinderella’s ugly step-sisters in a past production. He (or she) is known for the hilarious lines and sometimes adult content (don’t worry, the kids didn’t catch them). Ross Petty himself plays the Wicked Witch who encouraged the audience for feedback. My favourite line was from the Good Witch Splenda to the Wicked Witch, “you have the face that only Karen Kain could love!”
Elicia Mackenzie has one of the best voices in Toronto’s musical history and plays Dorothy in this year’s production. Originally discovered on CBC TV’s reality show to be the voice for Maria in the stage production of the Sound of Music a few years ago, Elicia wowed audiences as the lead singer/actress for the long running show. Then she went from the traditional role to rock in the stage production of Rock of Ages showing her ability to adapt.
It was during Rock of Ages that we first saw Elicia partnered up with musical favourite, Yvan Pedneault. Ross Petty has brought Yvan back again to play opposite of Dorothy as the Tin Man after a successful run in Robin Hood’s Merry Men in 2009. Oh…and the adorable TOTO is Yvan’s pooch!
We had the chance to ask Jessica Holmes what was her family’s holiday tradition. She told us her family leaves their tree up till March – “helps keep that Christmassy feeling until the snow is all gone!”
My family had an AMAZING time at this show. The boys are still laughing about Aunt Plumbum and has asked to see it again over the holidays! This is a first! Something tells me that Ross Petty musicals will be part of our family holiday traditions from now on!
The Wizard of OZ is playing at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto until January 6, 2012.
For ticket information visit the Ross Petty’s Wizard of OZ website.
What’s your family holiday tradition?