When The Wizard of Oz is mentioned, most people immediately think of the 1939 MGM movie starring Judy Garland. However, if you were to go back in time to before that film was made, many people would fondly remember the story as a successful stage musical extravaganza bearing little resemblance to the book by L. Frank Baum.
The stage Wizard opened in Chicago in 1902, and traveled to Broadway in 1903 where it was a smash hit and inspired further fantasy extravaganzas, like Babes in Toyland. The show was well publicized and documented with postcards, posters, sheet music, souvenirs and photos. And, I just realized it opened 106 years ago yesterday!
Here I have a songbook that was published featuring a few hits written for the show as well as other popular numbers. The main score was written by Paul Tietjens, with L. Frank Baum contributing lyrics to the musical numbers. In the course of the run of the show, many different songs by a variety of people were interpolated into the story.
The show was a popular success that toured the country and returned to New York several times in the first decade of the 1900s. David Maxine of Hungry Tiger Press has produced a 2 disc CD set featuring vintage recordings of music from the show, as well as a single disc featuring music from The Wizard and other Baum musicals. http://www.hungrytigerpress.com/audio/