Review: The Wizard of Oz at Paramount Theatre Aurora

Wow. The Paramount Theatre in Aurora never disappoints! We had the pleasure of being invited to see The Wizard of Oz at Paramount this past weekend and loved everything about the performance. The actors’ voices were unbelievable, the sets were dynamic, and Toto was adorable. The play was everything the movie was and more! The staff at Paramount adds to the experience as well because they are so friendly and accommodating. The woman showing us to our seats immediately offered a booster seat for my daughter, which gave her a perfect view of the stage.

To tackle making a play out of such a classic movie is difficult I’m sure, but we felt this one nailed it. The colors start out muted, similar to the black and white portion of the movie and then the color explodes when Dorothy and Toto appear in Munchkin Land. The script and songs were very much like the movie, with some extra jokes and expression changes. They had the audience laughing and getting into the performance right from the beginning.

The casting was on point and we often forgot that we weren’t watching Judy Garland! Elizabeth Stenholt’s voice is amazing and we fell in love with her playing the part of Dorothy. The other characters’ voices were equally as strong and they were a joy to watch. Toto was played by a real dog named Nessa, who was adorable and on cue every time. It was impressive and added a lot to the show.

(from left) Paul-Jordan Jansen plays Cowardly Lion, Carl Draper is Tinman, Elizabeth Stenholt plays Dorothy, Kyle Adams is Scarecrow and that’s Nessa as Toto in Paramount Theatre’s The Wizard of Oz. Performances are November 14, 2018-January 6, 2019 at Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., in downtown Aurora. Tickets: paramountaurora.com or (630) 896-6666. Photo credit: Liz Lauren

Show Length and Age Recommendations

The Wizard of Oz is 2 hours and 25 minutes with one intermission. It is recommended for ages 5 and up because of some scary moments, including a tornado which creates tension and the wicked witch.

The Wizard of Oz Performance Dates

The Wizard of Oz is at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora from now until January 6, 2019.

Show times (we would recommend the earlier performances if you are bringing kids because the show is 2 hours and 25 minutes with one intermission):

  • Wednesday at 1:30 pm and 7:00 pm
  • Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Friday at 8 p.m.
  • Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Sunday at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Exceptions: No show Thursday, November 22 (Thanksgiving Day). No show Sunday, December 23, at 5:30 p.m. There is one added Tuesday evening performance on Tuesday, November 27, at 7 p.m.

Added family matinees are Friday, December 21, at 1:30 p.m.; Thursday, December 27, at 1:30 p.m.; and Thursday, January 3, at 1 p.m.

Evening show times Wednesday and Thursday, January 2 and 3, are at 6 p.m., one hour early. Matinee show times Wednesday and Thursday, January 2 and 3 are at 1 p.m., 30 minutes early.

Tickets for The Wizard of Oz

Single tickets to The Wizard of Oz are $36 to $69. For tickets, visit ParamountAurora.com, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

(from left) Caron Buinis plays the Wicked Witch of the West, Harriet Nzinga Plumpp is Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, and Elizabeth Stenholt plays Dorothy in Paramount Theatre’s The Wizard of Oz. Performances are November 14, 2018-January 6, 2019 at Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., in downtown Aurora. Tickets: paramountaurora.com or (630) 896-6666. Photo credit: Liz Lauren

Parking for Paramount Theatre

We highly recommend that you check the Paramount Theatre website for parking suggestions. Valet parking, a municipal garage, and free street parking are available. We went to Elf the Musical last year on a Sunday and found street parking fairly easily. This year we went to the theater on a Saturday night and it took slightly more time to find a space, but we found one in a free lot a little more than a block away.

In and Around the Theatre

We recommend getting to Paramount early because there is a beautiful two-story Christmas tree in the lobby to take pictures in front of. They also have a section of the yellow brick road with a step and repeat backdrop for photographs. You will want to check out their great selection of wine, beer, fountain drinks, and snacks as well. Paramount Theatre is surrounded by affordable parking and a variety of restaurants for pre- or post-show dining.

The Wizard of Oz: Kid’s Perspective

Introducing a new section of reviews called The Kids’ Perspective. This is where my kids weigh in on their experiences so you can see their point of view and hopefully get some insight as to if your kids would enjoy it or not!

Hi everybody, I am Annie’s eight year old daughter and I went to see The Wizard of Oz. I am going to tell you why I liked the show, and how I felt during the show. I felt amazed to see how big the theater was; it was fancy with designs. The people that worked at the theater gave me a booster seat so I could see the stage and watch the characters walk across the stage.

I liked the show because the characters spoke clearly and I could hear everything they are saying and singing.  The characters were also dressed up realistically and it was like I was in the movie watching it all. My favorite character was Toto the dog. I liked him because he was cute and so well behaved. I couldn’t believe he was real!

I think ages six and up would really enjoy the show. They gave me a activity booklet with a word search and other fun activities inside. Before I went, I heard the length of the show was two and a half hours and I thought I was going to be bored, but it flew by so quickly because I loved it!

You did not need to see the movie. It was not too loud but it had some flashing lights. When the characters went by the aisles it was cool you could see them so well. When I left the theater I felt satisfied and happy I went. I would like to go again!

(from left) Elizabeth Stenholt plays Dorothy and Kyle Adams is Scarecrow in Paramount Theatre’s The Wizard of Oz. Anthony Sullivan Jr., Peter Sipla and J Tyler Whitmer play the Crows with puppets created by Jesse Mooney-Bullock. Performances are November 14, 2018-January 6, 2019 at Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., in downtown Aurora. Tickets: paramountaurora.com or (630) 896-6666. Photo credit: Liz Lauren

Special Event: Page to Stage on December 8, 2018

Have you read the classic novel that inspired The Wizard of Oz? Watch the book come to life with Paramount Theatre’s “Page to Stage” series of free educational events in partnership with Santori and Messenger Public Libraries on Saturday, December 8.

Characters and words will jump off the page as students read part of L. Frank Baum’s original novel, written right here in Chicago in 1900. Then, children will learn how Paramount Theatre translates literature into an onstage, larger-than-life live stage production. Everyone gets a chance to learn a song, make a puppet inspired by Paramount’s new production of The Wizard of Oz and perform for their families.

Show your kids what fun it can be when art and literature collide. Paramount’s “Page to Stage” library tour starts Saturday morning, December 8, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., at Santori Aurora Public Library, 101 S. River St., Aurora. Space is limited. Free tickets will be given at the reference desk in the Kiwanis Children’s Center to the first 25 students.

The afternoon “Page to Stage” event is from is 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m. at Messenger Public Library of North Aurora, 113 Oak St. Space is limited to the first 25 students. Register online for free tickets starting November 26 at messengerpl.org.

 

About the Author

Annie Tandy
Annie loves making great memories with her kids and started Kidlist so she can help others do the same! Besides finding fun and exciting things to do, Annie, her husband, and their kids enjoy caring for their chickens and hanging out with them in the backyard. Click here to read about Annie's chickens and see pictures! She also finds joy in gardening, home improvement projects, knitting, soap making, and painting along with being active in her community, church, and as a board member of the Western Springs Business Association. Click here to follow Annie on Instagram.

1 Comment on "Review: The Wizard of Oz at Paramount Theatre Aurora"

  1. I thought the play was awesome. Can’t believe they created so much in that amount of time. Something for every age. Adult humor and fun for the children. My grandson is 6yrs. old and
    he enjoyed it. Loved it. So glad we ordered tickets. “Dorothy had me in tears in the beginning, but then I smiled through the better part of the play. Cast was excellent.

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