Review: Wicked Fun Awaits in 'Drama Oz'

by Christopher Verleger

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday June 6, 2022

Review: Wicked Fun Awaits in 'Drama Oz'

Pride month welcomes back our favorite married college professors and gay stand-ins for Holmes and Watson, Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver of Treemeadow College, with their fourteenth murder mystery adventure from author Joe Cosentino, "Drama Oz." This time they're definitely not in Kansas anymore.

The coastal paradise of Florida's Key West is now home to a new Wizard of Oz theme park, so who better to stage an onsite musical production based on Dorothy and her friends than the fabulous foursome of Nicky, Noah, and their collegiate counterparts, Martin and Ruben. If the 1939 film weren't already campy enough, the latest interpretation features Toto in a G-string, while the Munchkin Leader wears leather chaps and the Winged Monkey Leader dons a leather harness.

As much as this theatrical romp may differ from the classic edition, it has a lot more in common with every other Nicky and Noah-branded creation — egomaniacal actors, suppressed sexual tension, and multitudinous murders. As the yellow brick road becomes cluttered with corpses, the Wizard and the Scarecrow, boldly played by Nicky and Noah respectively, join forces with Glinda and the Wicked Witch (Martin and Ruben), and the Tin Man and Lion (portrayed by their sons, Taavi and Ty), to catch the Emerald City killer.

In a refreshing twist, the noticeably absent, scatterbrained detective Jose Manuello has been replaced by the hunky Rick Boulder, whose jumbled, albeit expansive, knowledge of Broadway musicals would rival that of any gay "Jeopardy!" contestant. With no help whatsoever from Rick, Nicky narrows down the suspect list, yet the detective proves his worth — and fulfills a lifelong dream — by stepping in for Noah when he falls ill.

For longtime fans, every Nicky and Noah mystery feels like home, and this latest entry reminds us that there's truly no place like it. If "Drama Oz" is your first visit to the magical land of these provocative professors, the tornado of intrigue, excitement, and romance is a perfect introduction to this wickedly funny, unapologetically audacious, and wildly entertaining mystery series.

"Drama Oz: A Nicky and Noah Mystery," by Joe Cosentino is available now.

Chris is a voracious reader and unapologetic theater geek from Narragansett, Rhode Island.