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Raleigh Little Theatre's Ozma of Oz 

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Ozma of Oz: A Tale of Time
Raleigh Little Theatre
Through July 27

Raleigh Little Theatre's Teens on Stage production of Ozma of Oz: A Tale of Time is a lovely piece of all-ages entertainment. Loosely adapted from one of the many sequels L. Frank Baum wrote for The Wizard of Oz by family playwright Suzan Zeder, Ozma finds a teenage, petulant Dorothy (Natalie Oliver) stuck on a ship to Australia with her wheelchair-bound Uncle Henry (Christian Phipps), annoyed by the old man's desire for adventure. A storm takes the two to the Land of Oz, where they must help the "time machine" Tic Toc (Joey Osuna) and the titular princess Ozma (Allison Powell) battle the head-swapping Princess Langwidere (Katie Higgins) and the evil gnome king Roquat of the Rock (David Anthony Caterinicchio) with such allies as a large chicken named Bill (Laura Owens).

Though it's far more minimalist than N.C. Theatre's recent elaborate production of Peter Pan at Memorial Auditorium, Ozma is in some ways a more imaginative and enjoyable play, full of colorful characters and a well-developed message about growing old. Director Linda O'Day Young keeps the one-act play moving at a fast pace, with the 18 (!) different teenage performers quickly moving on and off stage. It also features some nicely colorful costumes and makeup, complete with gnomes who look like they stepped out of Jim Henson's Labyrinth. As someone who spent many days in the public library on Six Forks Road reading Del Rey's paperback reprints of Baum's Oz books, it suffices to say that this production brought back a lot of memories of reading the original book with a copy of The Great Brain and a Choose Your Own Adventure sitting nearby.

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