Welcome to my blog! If you're looking in for the first time, items are posted in a haphazard way, but the Oz series is scattered throughout in chronological order. Do check back in - I always have an eye open for an Oz item, and as I find more I'll share them here!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Children's Theatre Oz
In 1981, the Minneapolis Children's Theater Company produced an elaborate musical adaptation of The Marvelous Land of Oz. I was in college at the time, and worked as an usher at the theater. This was the final show of the season, and I was very interested in seeing what would be done with it. I attended many rehearsals, and found it fascinating to see the show come together.
In my enthusiasm, I suggested that it might make an interesting lobby display to gather several first editions of the Oz books. I had a couple of my own by that point, but not enough for a display. I knew that the Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota had a large collection of early and first editions, and I was put in touch with Karen Hoyle, director of the Kerlan. She was willing to lend several books, and a tradition was started. For years afterward, the Kerlan lent various editions of books pertaining to the shows being produced at CTC.
The show itself was a remarkably faithful adaptation of the second Oz book. This became the first show at the theater to be videotaped and made available for sale. A couple interesting trivia points about the production - originally a girl was cast to play Ozma at the end of the show, but the director, John Donahue, nixed her in favor of having Tip play the role in drag. Also, for part of the run as well as the video production, one of the members of the women's Army of Revolt was played by a man - see if you can find him!
I used to have two of the Emerald City hats used in the show, but I gave them to my nieces and they are now long gone....
Posted by Bill Campbell