Theater & Performing Arts

The Wizard of Oz

When: Fridays, 7:30 p.m., Saturdays, 2 & 7 p.m., Sun., Nov. 22, 11 a.m. and Sundays, 4 p.m. Continues through Dec. 6 2009

You don’t realize how much The Wizard of Oz has seeped into contemporary pop culture until you see it again in adulthood and hear the lines “Surrender, Dorothy” or “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore” intoned for the gazillionth time. Local director Jon Tracy stays true to both the children’s fairy tale and the MGM movie version in his adaptation, developed under the auspices of Berkeley Playhouse. His Wizard of Oz is pretty kid-friendly — cast members act out the cyclone by dancing through a blue lit haze, and the winged monkeys are glamorous, spangled things — but it has at least two nods to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, and some other in-jokes. Actress Natalie Amaya shines as a staunchly principled Dorothy Gale, while Anna Ishida plays just about every other female character (Tracy is really into the idea of “doubling”). Four of the play’s lead characters (the two women, plus scarecrow Anthony Rollins-Mullens and tinman Reginald White) are excellent singers. The geometric set patterns by Nina Hall offer a hidden surprise if you look closely. For a children’s play, it’s fantastically sophisticated. Through Dec. 6 at Julia Morgan Center for the Arts (2640 College Ave.). $19-$33.

Rachel Swan

Price: $19, $25, $28

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