They're off to see the Wizard...

Terrifying witches. Metallic men come to life. Wild beasts standing on two legs. Sentient scarecrows. Crushed dead bodies. Melting flesh. And that's not even the horror musical.

This week Seattle Theater Group hosts two very different musicals — The Wizard of Oz at the Paramount and Carrie: The Musical at the Moore. While the shows are worlds apart in terms of subject matter and tone, both offer elements that spice up their well-known stories.

The Wizard of Oz already had a score of timeless tunes like “Over the Rainbow” and “We’re Off to See the Wizard," so it seemed like an embarrassment of riches when Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice teamed up to write new songs for a 2011 London revival of Dorothy’s journey. The duo's tunes should make this touring production a fresh trip down the Yellow Brick Road.

In 2012, Carrie: The Musical rose from the dead (a very appropriate thing for a Stephen King musical to do). The Off-Broadway revival of King’s tale of a tormented teenage girl with telekinetic powers gave this kitschy, unconventional show a second life, after its premiere run in 1988 went down as one of the biggest flops in Broadway history. The show is a Balagan Theatre production and features Tony Award winner Alice Ripley (Next to Normal) as Carrie's antagonistic mother, Margaret White. At the very least, the show looks a lot more fun than the upcoming (unnecessary) film remake of Carrie.

The Wizard of Oz
Oct 9–13, Paramount Theatre, $25–$105

Carrie: The Musical
Oct 11–26, Moore Theatre, $18–$35

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