Over The Rainbow In A Different Oz

Tonight sees the opening of what sounds like a different production of The Wizard of Oz.  Produced by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, the London premiere has all the elements of the classic 1939 movie however, it has added elements which (according to Sir Andrew) make it more suitable to the stage.  Added are 4 songs which give Glinda, The Wicked Witch of the West, and the Wizard  a chance to use their singing chops.  Apparently, the Good Witch’s short bit in Munchkinland does not count as a song.  For the new songs, Lloyd Webber re-teamed with lyricist Tim Rice a partnership which dissolved 30 years ago after Evita.

Casting for Dorothy was done in what seems to be the Lord’s new-found trademark: the televised talent show.  He did it for Joseph, Maria in The Sound of Music, and now for Oz.  I dunno about this American Idol meets theatre concept.

A familiar name was cast in the title role.  Michael Crawford (the original Phantom of Lloyd Webber’s production) was number one on the list.  I can actually picture Mr. Crawford in the roles of Professor Marvel and the Great Humbug.  Wonder how many other roles he will be filling.  Taylhis, how many parts did Frank Morgan have in the movie?

This July, Fountain City Festival will be performing a version closer in production to the original movie.  As soon as I get back on my feet… I really pray that it is soon… I look forward to helping to bring one of my favorite shows to the stage.

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7 Comments »

  1. taylhis Said:

    on March 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Frank Morgan had 5 roles in the 1939 classic: Prof. Marvel, The Doorman, The Gate Keeper, the Carriage Driver, and Oz himself (Oscar Diggs) of course. Because Morgan was a top star of the day, MGM was afraid of critical reception if they underused him, so he received 5 roles and top billing even though his screen time is minimal compared to the other stars.
    Oh, I sure hope this new attempt isn’t yet another debacle that serves to decimate the memory of the great movie classic like so many others that have come along – especially the slew of terrible-sounding movies slated to come out soon.
    Thanks for the report, I hadn’t heard of this. Should help our audience numbers come summer!!

  2. Taylhis Said:

    on March 2, 2011 at 11:38 am

    As long as this doesn’t cause the rights to be pulled – now I’m concerned!!

  3. jamiahsh Said:

    on March 2, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I wouldn’t be TOO concerned. This is over the big pond and it has been in the news for some months. I might have mentioned it in a previous post.

  4. Taylhis Said:

    on March 2, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Well, these companies have been known to suddenly pull rights, deposits notwithstanding – even if the show is on another continent; it’s not unheard of to pull the rights. It would stink after all of the work we’ve already done. But it has been fun to work on such a great show, and I look forward to continuing; I think we’ll be ok.

  5. jamiahsh Said:

    on March 2, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    We’ll pray that our production continues to move forward!

  6. derek Said:

    on March 2, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Only four new songs? Does one of them get played over and over throughout the show per other ALW musicals? 😀 Okay, that was bad.

    I wasn’t aware it had been so long since they worked together. With only the four new songs, is this more of them testing the waters of working together again I wonder?

    T, I wouldn’t worry too much about rights being pulled since it sounds like this is an updated version. They should allow the original version to be performed by others, but what do I know?

  7. jamiahsh Said:

    on March 3, 2011 at 9:35 am

    D, It may well be a testing of the waters after their long hiatus/rift or what you will. And I agree, although it is supposed to be faithful to the movie, I think the changes should enough to allow other versions to continue.

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