Yellow Brick Road

2005 documentary

Rating: 15/20 (Jen: 15/20)

Plot: A New York program called ANCHOR (Answering the Needs of Citizens with Handicaps through Organized Recreation [Note: Shouldn't the acronym be ATNOCWHTOR then?]) brings together a collective of actors with a variety of disabilities to put on a stage production of The Wizard of Oz. The documentary captures everybody at work as they prepare for opening night and gives a glimpse of a few of the actors' lives outside the theater.

My favorite being the guy who was showing off his stuffed characters from Disney's The Great Mouse Detective. I was touched by this documentary and its subjects. My only gripes? I wish the performers would have done their own singing. The film opens with the mostly-wheelchair-bound Tin Man singing "If I Only Had a Heart," and I really liked his voice, and not just because he reminded me of a certain singer at Johnson Bible College. And I really wish we could have seen more of the actual production and really wonder why we didn't. Even though that makes it all a bit anticlimactic, this is still stuffed like a scarecrow with great moments--the hysterical reaction when one gal gets a part, watching the guy who played the Cowardly Lion show off his acting chops, the Tin Man's curtain call, the mayor of Munchkin Land trying to get his one line memorized. Yellow Brick Road is ultimately a look at some individuals who, despite not fitting most people's ideas about what actors look like or sound like, are given a chance to do something they love doing, and it's an absolute pleasure spending some time with them.

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