If you've watched The Wizard of Oz on TV or DVD a hundred times—and who hasn't?—then you'll feel right at home with Moonlight Stage Production's musical, originally adapted for the Royal Shakespeare Company. It's practically note-for-note and line-for-line, which is a double-edged sword. Fans of the film, young and old, will feel like they're watching their favorite movie live and in person. But with the familiarity comes a lack of surprises (not to mention a lack of Judy Garland).
There is one bonus in this musical adaptation: the inclusion of a song-and-dance number that was cut from the motion picture. "The Jitterbug," presented early in Act 2, finds Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion singing and jitterbugging in the dark forest on the way to the Wicked Witch of the West's castle. It's no "Over the Rainbow," but at least it's something different from the film we all know so well.
The Moonlight production also offers faithful orchestration (conducted by Elan McMahan) of the film score by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, along with additional background music by Herbert Stothart and lively choreography by Roger Castellano, who also directs. Randall Dodge rocks as the Cowardly Lion, though Carlin Castellano appears too mature to be a believable Dorothy and Danette Holland merely channels Margaret Hamilton as the Witch.
The Wizard of Oz runs through Aug. 10 at the Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista. $15- $50. moonlightstage.com
Just got around to seeing Intrepid Shakespeare Company's A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Musical. It's a refreshing take on The Bard's whimsical comedy, with actors belting out '50s and '60s pop songs in between the iambic pentameter. Kevin Hafso-Koppman is a superb Puck, and David McBean and Jacquelyn Ritz (as Oberon / Theseus and Titania / Hippolyta) duet with feeling and verve, as on the Turtles' "Happy Together." Phil Johnson (as Bottom) fronts the play's hapless amateur-acting troupe, conceived here as a doo-wop outfit.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Musical may be the most unusual show you see this summer. It could be the most memorable, too. It runs through Aug. 18 at the Performing Arts Center on the campus of San Dieguito Academy in Encinitas. $15-$35. intrepidshakespeare.com
The Good, the Bad, and the I-5: Legendary sketchcomedy gang Second City stages a show for and about San Diego—plenty of rich material here lately, eh? Opens Aug. 6 at La Jolla Playhouse. lajollaplayhouse.org
Shakespeare Unscripted: The Impro Theatre troupe dreams up a Bard-esque play right on the spot. It happens on Monday, Aug. 5, at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org
Carnival: An orphan named Lili joins the circus and becomes the object of an unhappy puppeteer's affection. Through Aug. 4 at Coronado Playhouse. coronadoplayhouse.com
Perfect Wedding: Dude wakes up on the morning of his wedding with a hot chick lying next to him, and the bride shows up. But he and his best man have a plan. Through Aug. 4 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org
Sister Act: A nightclub singer witnesses a murder and is sent, via witness-protection program, to a convent, where she teaches the choir to rock. Presented by Broadway San Diego, it runs through Aug. 4 at the Civic Theatre, Downtown. broadwaysd.com
It's Just Sex: Three couples get together for some drinks, and, wouldn't you know it, the inevitable spouse swapping ensues. Through Aug. 10 at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista. onstageplayhouse.org
The Wizard of Oz: A Kansas girl's blunt-force head trauma sends her to a colorful land where men are made of straw and tin, lions dance and monkeys fly. Through Aug. 10 at Moonlight Amphitheatre in Visa. moonlightstage.com
Freedom of Speech: Eliza Jane Schneider plays 34 characters in her own one-woman show, which chronicles her travels around the United States in an old ambulance. Presented by Moxie Theatre, it runs through Aug. 11 at Diversionary Theatre in University Heights. moxietheatre.com
The Rainmaker: A conman arrives at a Depression-era ranch where the cattle are dying and the farmer's daughter's hopes of finding a husband are fading. Through Aug. 11 at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. oldglobe.org
A Midsummer Night's Dream: The Musical: It's Shakespeare's classic comedy in the forest, but with pop music from the 1960s. Presented by Intrepid Shakespeare Company, it runs through Aug. 18 at San Dieguito Academy Performing Arts Centre in Encinitas. intrepidshakespeare.com
You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up!: The nationally touring stage version of a 2010 book by comedians Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn about their real-life marriage and family. Through Aug. 18 at the Lyceum Theatre at Horton Plaza, Downtown. lyceumevents.org
Company: A musical organized around a series of vignettes that explore the relationships between an unmarried 35-year-old man and his 10 coupled-off friends. Presented by Cygnet Theatre, it runs though Aug. 25 at The Old Town Theatre. cygnettheatre.com
In the Heights: A musical about working-class folks trying to get ahead in a Dominican-American neighborhood in New York City. Through Aug. 25 at the Lyceum Theatre at Horton Plaza, Downtown. sdrep.org
Sideways: Two middle-aged guys, one who's about to be married, head to Santa Barbara wine country and find trouble. Through Aug. 25 at La Jolla Playhouse. lajollaplayhouse.org
Double Indemnity: In a theatrical version of the 1943 noir novel and 1944 film, an insurance man falls for a sexy dame who wants her husband dead. Through Sept. 1 at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. oldglobe.org
Suds: The Musical: The story of a young woman looking for love in a Laundromat frames a soundtrack of '60s hits. Through Sept. 1 at New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad. newvillagearts.org
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead: Tom Stoppard's existentialist play turns two minor characters in Shakespeare's Hamlet into lead characters. Through Sept. 26 at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. oldglobe.org
The Merchant of Venice: Shakespeare's play, about a man who borrows money to court a woman, gave us the terms "shylock" and "a pound of flesh." Through Sept. 28 at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. oldglobe.org
A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Greek forest is alive with fairies, magic potions and the pursuit of love in the opener of The Old Globe's summer Shakespeare Festival. Through Sept. 29 at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. oldglobe.org
miXtape: Generation X was torn between disillusionment and hope in this cavalcade of music from the 1980s. Produced by Lamb's Players Theatre, it runs through Sept. 29 at the Horton Grand Theatre, Downtown. lambsplayers.org
Crime Pays: A radio game show with dastardly overtones, served up with dinner, is presented by Mystery Cafe at Imperial House restaurant in Bankers Hill. mysterycafe.net