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Quinn Martin as Dorothy. (c) Conejo Players Theatre.

Quinn Martin, fresh off Nickelodeon, makes for a perfect Dorothy Gale. She is a combination of all the great things that made Danielle Hope, Danielle Wade and Jessica Grove spectacular all while making the iconic teenage role her own.

If you have a spare night between now and the 10th of April, I highly encourage you hightail it to Thousand Oaks where Martin is dazzling crowds night after night in Conejo Player Theatre‘s The Wizard of Oz.

There are so many young ladies who have tried on the ruby red slippers and sung the iconic “Over the Rainbow” but how many times do we feel we are getting a rehashing of Judy Garland’s performance on a lesser scale? Thankfully Martin refuses to mimic Garland with her performance and especially the way she handles her Act One solo. At Conejo Players we are treated to a stripped down version of “Over the Rainbow” and our Dorothy has spunk, passion, enthusiasm, hopes, and dreams.

Quinn Martin, Daniel Egan. (c) Conejo Players Theatre.

And her chemistry with the rest of the cast, including little Tilly (Toto), is spot-on. With her contagious smile, she easily wins over the Scarecrow (Daniel Egan), Tinman (Jared Price), Lion (David Colville) and the rest of the cast. Unlike the 2013 U.S. National Tour starring Danielle Wade where the chemistry between Dorothy and Tinman is off the charts, this time it was Dorothy and Scarecrow who shared the most chemistry in a nod to the movie when Judy Garland cries, “I think I’ll miss you most of all (Scarecrow).”

Their friendship starts off strong from the moment they meet on the yellow brick road up til the moment that Hunk (Scarecrow’s persona in Kansas) drapes a blanket across Dorothy’s shoulders at the finale.

Quinn Martin, Daniel Egan. (c) Conejo Players Theatre.

In fact, during the oft sung “We’re off to see the Wizard” when Dorothy and her companions danced up and down the aisles, it was always Scarecrow’s arm she clung to. Just saying. 🙂

As for the three companions individually they are all very strong performers and made the roles their very own with A+ performances. Egan‘s chemistry with Martin makes him extra lovable and his dancing/movement was spot-on and entertaining. Jared Price‘s Tinman is sweet/nimble and his friendship/bromance with Lion (David Colville) is palpable. Lion is definitely a scene stealer with his bigger than life personality and second act number, “If I Were King of the Forest”, that is a crowd favorite.

Kurt Raymond. (c) Conejo Players Theatre.

On alternating nights, the role of Aunt Em/Glinda is played by Jennifer Sorensen and Erin Eichberg. At the performance I saw Saturday night, Erin Eichberg did a fabulous job making Aunt Em sympathetic and her Glinda is hug-able and bigger than life with a ginormous poofy pink dress.

The leading man, Kurt Raymond, who plays Miss Gulch and Wicked Witch was the surprise of the evening. According to his bio he has been known these 20 past years as the world’s leading “Master Oz Impressionist” specializing in Margaret Hamilton’s portrayal of the Wicked Witch in the 1939 The Wizard of Oz. That’s quite a resume and what an impression he does! He has the crackle, speaking voice and movements down to a T! You can certainly not fault the man for his performance with the understanding that what you are getting is an impression (a very good one!) of Margaret Hamilton’s iconic portrayal in the 1939 film.

Ray Mastrovito, Quinn Martin. (c) Conejo Players Theatre.

As Professor Chester Marvel/Wizard, Ray Mastrovito is a hoot, especially in his brief stint as Marvel. Sure he was no Michael Crawford but Conejo Players sticks closer to the RSC production vs Andrew Lloyd Webber’s updated version and he had great chemistry with Dorothy and Toto.

Last but not least, a big shout out to three of the children in the ensemble who my girlfriend and I could not take our eyes off of during the Munchkinland scene. Samuel Kirsch, Madison North and Charlotte Smith make up the cutest (by far!) Lollypop Guild and will have you smiling from ear to ear. I only wish they had more stage time, they were that adorable.

Madison North, Charlotte Smith, Samuel Kirsch. (c) Conejo Players Theatre.

Conejo Players Theatre‘s The Wizard of Oz is a community theatre smash hit in the Ventura County. Wrapping up their second weekend of performances today, they are thrilling audiences (including special guests Mr. Robert Baum, Jr., great-grandson of the legendary L. Frank Baum) daily. You don’t want to miss out on the chance to say you saw Quinn Martin as Dorothy and little Tilly (Toto) will have you in stitches laughing at his little antics and cuteness.

The Joyous Living: Quinn Martin is perfection in The Wizard of Oz at Conejo Players

Dates: Now through 10 April 2016 (no performance on Easter Sunday)
Location: 351 South Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks, CA (Free parking lot) 
Tickets: $18-20 (General Admission; group discounts are available)
Cast: Quinn Martin, Jennifer Sorensen/Erin Eichberg, Paul Carpenter, David Colville, Jared Price, Daniel Egan, Kurt Raymond, Ray Mastrovito, Abel Alderate, Andrew Nunez, Charlotte Smith, Claire Harvey, Dani Kirsch, Emma Gonzales, Jessica Wallace, Kari Sorensen, Kyle Johnson, Riley Krugh, Ryan Peterson, Rylee Stewart, Sammy Kirsch, Sharon Lovelle, Shira Goldstein, Siena Avila, William Carmichael and Tilly.

Disclaimer: My ticket was comped for review purposes but all opinions are my own.