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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

July 25, 2018
Jamie Davis Smith
Synetic Theatre
1800 S. Bell Street
Arlington, VA 22202
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Nearly everyone is familiar with the story of the Wizard of Oz, yet is told time and time again.  It is not an easy task to make the story seem fresh and new.  Synthetic Theater’s production thoroughly reimagines the tale of Oz in a completely unexpected way, while still retaining all of the classic elements of the story that has allowed it to remain a beloved story generation after generation.
This version of The Wizard of Oz is different from the opening scene, starting not on the prairies of Kansas but with the Wizard himself practicing magic and eventually causing the tornado that takes Dorothy to Oz.  There are no songs, and only Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Wizard ever speak at all during this production.  Instead, the story is told through dramatic and beautiful action and dance.  Even the poppy field that puts Dorothy and her traveling companions to sleep comes alive through the fluid movement of actors and the poppies themselves take on a personality and come alive.  Even familiar parts of the story, like the flying monkeys, manage to be surprising in the way they dominate the stage.  There are also moments of humor, such as the Wicked Witch of the West returning briefly from her melted state to place her magical crown on stage and the exposed Wizard bumbling through his potions to give the Lion his courage and the Scarecrow his brains.
It’s rare to see a performance that works equally well for adults and children alike, but The Wonderful Wizard of Oz does just that.  We recommend seeing it with or without children.  If I had not brought my children to see The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with me I’m not sure I would have thought, they would have enjoyed it.  However, luckily for my children aged 3.5 through 10.5, I did bring them and they all loved it and remained rapt through the show.
Good to know:
  • Although the Synetic Theatre is located in Arlington, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is showing at the Davis Performing Arts Center on the campus of Georgetown University at 37th and O Streets, NW.  
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz plays through August 12th.
  • Tickets are $40.00.
  • Seating is general admission.  The theatre is not very large so there are no bad seats, but if you have a big group that wants to sit together or have your heart set on sitting in the front row you may want to arrive early.
  • There is street parking available around the theatre.  On a busy Friday night we had no problems finding a nearby spot.  
  • The play runs 100 minutes and does not include an intermission.
  • If you do bring your children with you, I recommend reviewing the basic story with them ahead of time since some things in the play (like the poppies discussed above) are representative in nature.  Also, some parts of the play follow the book rather than the movie, including that Dorothy’s shoes are silver rather than red and that the play features China Dolls not in the movie.

Photo courtesy of Synetic Theater Website.

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