The most refreshing thing about Beef & Boards’ production of "The Wizard of Oz" is that, apart from the unavoidable Burt Lahr-isms of the Cowardly Lion, none of the actors seem to be trying to mimic the performers from the classic film.
When a property is this familiar to audiences, it’s easy to go with the copycat approach. But that’s inevitably the wrong choice because such a production can’t help but leave one yearning for the real thing. “That sounded just like Judy Garland” isn’t nearly as theatrically interesting as “That sounded like a girl from Kansas who doesn’t feel understood and is yearning for a place on the other side of the rainbow.”
That isn’t to say that the B&B production is revisionist in any way. There’s no radically—or even subtly—different take on the material. It’s simply a good-enough production, albeit a bit underpopulated in Munchkinland, that’s helped along considerably by a sturdy Tin Man in Jeff Stockberger, a seemingly boneless Scarecrow in Doug King, an engaging Lion in Jayson Elliott and a terrific Toto in Gracie Curry.
"The Wizard of Oz" runs though July 15.