INDIANAPOLIS — It’s been more than a decade since Miss Almira Gulch, the Toto-grabbing spinster from “The Wizard of Oz,” last brought her cabaret show to Theatre on the Square in downtown Indianapolis, but she’s back and as sassy as ever in “Miss Gulch Returns.”
In this one-man musical comedy originally written and performed by Fred Barton, the old lady was (last in 2003) and is presented in Indy by Brent Marty, occasional stage quadruple-threat (acting, singing, dancing and musician) whose full-time work is behind the scenes at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre in Carmel.
Marty shines almost literally in this show, appearing as himself at first to introduce our star — not Margaret Hamilton playing the film role but an actual Miss Gulch who played herself opposite Judy Garland — then swapping tux for dowdy dress and trademark hat to transform into the woman of the hour.
Almira hasn’t found much fame since her star moment with MGM and makes her feelings known with the song, “I Can Be an Icon, Too.” Being still a “Miss,” she feels kinda lonely, telling the bartender to “Pour Me a Man.” These and other fun tunes flow through the show as we experience a surprisingly funny and entertaining side of one of the least-liked characters this side of the rainbow.
The mood is set from the beginning with a stage set as a bar decorated with “Oz” posters and memorabilia, with a certain young actress’s mug defaced. But Gulch’s bitterness sharpens the humor like bitters improve a cocktail.
TOTS does serve beer and wine in its concessions, so share a drink with this old broad this weekend at 327 Massachusetts Ave. Call 317-685-8687 or visit tots.org.