Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

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....


hungrytigerboy said...

Gosh, Bill! It's amazing we never ran into each other in Minneapolis. I was at one of the fianl LAND OF OZ performances where they were taping the "audience reaction" shots for the LAND video. My sister and I are in the final tape - meandering through the aisle, clapping, etc.

I had almost contacted CTC to offer books from my collection, too. I only lived about two blocks from the theatre. And a few years later I was working as an Assistant Stage Manager at CTC.

Bill Campbell said...

Our paths just must not have crossed. The following year my partner became House Manager and I became Assistant House Manager. We worked there through college, ending in 1983.

Anonymous said...

I didn't start Stage Managing at CTC until the 85-86 season. I was at the Guthrie from '83 to '85.

Still lots of us Minneapolis OZ folk were getting together for OZ movies, discussions, etc. I was running a small oz newsletter called THE PUMPERDINK PRESS from '81-'84.

I always wondered where that display of OZ material came from in 1981 :)

Best, David

Sam said...

They should have kept the girl originally cast as Ozma!