Main Stage Production
by L. Frank Baum
With Music and Lyrics by Harold Arlen & E.Y. Harburg
Directed by Morgan S. Heetbrink
November 22 - December 15, 2013
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays @ 8pm, Sundays @ 2pm
Little Dorothy Gale of Kansas, like so many girls her age, dreams of what lies over the rainbow. One day a twister hits her farm and carries her away over the rainbow to another world. Come join Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tinman, the Cowardly Lion and Toto as they travel the universe of Dorothy's imagination.
Nothing is more entertaining that seeing a live-action musical on stage with the whole family (consider buying group tickets), but owning The Wizard of Oz on DVD (Two-Disc 70th Anniversary Edition) (1939) from Amazon.com is an adequate surrogate for a quick "Wizard-Fix" during the year. Click on the link to the left.
Background (***May Contain Spoilers***)
The Wizard of Oz was first turned into a musical extravaganza by L. Frank Baum himself. A loose adaptation of Baum's 1900 novel (there is no Wicked Witch or Toto, and there are some new characters), it first played in Chicago in 1902 and was a success on Broadway the following year. It then toured for seven years.
The 1939 film adaptation bore a closer resemblance to the storyline of Baum's original novel than most previous versions. It was a strong success, won the Academy Awards for best song and best score, and has been frequently broadcast on television.
This was followed, in 1945, by a musical theatre adaptation presented at the St. Louis Municipal Opera (MUNY). The script was adapted by Frank Gabrielson from the novel, but it is influenced in some respects by the motion picture script and uses most of the songs from the film. A new song was added for Dorothy to sing in the Emerald City, called "Evening Star", and the Wizard goes home in a rocket ship instead of a hot air balloon.
According to Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) director Ian Judge, the company's 1987 adaptation "came about when Terry Hands, artistic director of the company, asked for a show that could be performed annually over the Christmas season, as a revival of J. M. Barrie's play Peter Pan had been previously. ... Judge obtained the rights to the  film. ... An additional verse has been put back into the Academy Award-winning song 'Over the Rainbow,' as well as an entire number, 'The Jitterbug,' that was cut from the movie. Every word of the screenplay has been left in. 'We've just fattened it out a little bit because you need a few more words in the theater than you need in the movies.'"In 1986, John Kane was asked by the company to write the book for the adaptation. This hews even more closely to the film's screenplay than the 1945 MUNY version and attempts to recreate the film's atmosphere and some of its special effects.
The Driftwood Players will perform the RSC version.