The Wizard of Oz: Musical Extravaganza

Creators
Bess Goden and Katie Kraase

Witch
You must go to the wonderful Wizard of
Oz. He alone has the power to transport
you across the burning desert. As a
member of the Witches’ Union I have
business elsewhere. When danger
threatens, remember your ring.

The story of The Wizard of Oz has had many incarnations throughout it’s history, but perhaps one of the least remembered is the 1902 musical. Billed as an ‘extravaganza’, this play originally premiered in Chicago and was so well received that it only took a year to find it’s Broadway home at the Majestic Theater. Located on West 44th St. between 7th and 8th Avenues, audiences poured in to see this comedic spectacle and often requested so many encores of their favorite songs, that the play generally ran four hours or more. Although the play was written and conceived by L. Frank Baum himself, the author of the original books, the script harbors only a passing resemblance to it’s forebear. The music was originally written by Paul Tietjens, but by the time it had reached the Majestic, a myriad of other writers and composers had left their mark on the play. Fearing it too dry to attract a large audience, vaudevillian joke-writer Glen MacDounough was hired on by producers to spruce up the comedic elements. Baum proved dissatisfied with the end result, mentioning to The Chicago Tribune in 1904, “…few authors of successful books are ever fully satisfied with the dramatization of their work. They discern great gaps in the original story that are probably never noticed by playgoers.”. But turn of the century audiences disagreed and caused the show to last for 293 performances before relocating.

Memory of this version has all but faded, and yet when examined, much can be learned about the history of the musical itself. Reading the script as a modern audience, one wonders why jokes are given more stage time than plot development, why the songs are placed without introduction and are completely irrelevant. At the turn of the century, variety acts were king, and many theatrical performances strove to mimic the Vaudevillian standard of presenting unrelated lighthearted material, often at the expense of the plot. In this respect, Baum’s comedically revised script is a perfect example:

Dorothy
My name is Dorothy, and I am one of the
Kansas Gales.

Scarecrow
That accounts for your breezy manner.

Dorothy
When I am at home I live in Kansas. Just
now I am lost, and I am going to the
Emerald City to ask the wonderful
Wizard of Oz to help me.

Scarecrow
What, to get back to Kansas? Dottie, why
trifle with your luck?

Dorothy
Behave. You are old enough to know
better.

Scarecrow
No, I’m not! I was just born, and it will be
three hundred and sixty-four days before
I have a birthday.

(Cows begins to nibble at Scarecrow’s
legs.)

Dorothy
How long do you think you’ll live?

Scarecrow
If I can escape that cow of yours, until
I’m used to stuff a summer boarder’s
mattress. Do you think the Wizard would
have a set of brains knocking around his
place that would fit me?

Dorothy
He might.

Scarecrow
If I thought he could fix me up I’d go with
you.

Dorothy
Come along. Even if he is out of your
size you’ll be no worse off than you are
now.

(Both start to go L.)

This play also left its mark on the development of the story’s interpretation. Perhaps its most famous incarnation, the 1939 MGM movie musical starring Judy Garland, borrowed elements from this stage play. Recall Glinda’s famous snow storm heaped upon our heroes to wake them from their poppy induced sleep. Baum had originally written that a wagon pulled by mice rescued the foursome, both in the novel and the original script. But in 1901 producers convinced him to change this to the better remembered version of events in the name of increased spectacle. Perhaps this play has been obscured by time, but its legacy has helped to shape the development of musical theatre and a great American story dear to our childhood hearts.

Bibliography and credits
Photographs and Graphics
(1902). Scarecrow. [Print Photo]. Billy Rose Theatre Division. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

(1902). The Wizard Of Oz: Under the Spell of The Poppies. [Print Graphic]. Billy Rose Theatre Division. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

(1902). Tinman. [Print Photo]. Billy Rose Theatre Division. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

(1903). Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion. [Print Photo]. Billy Rose Theatre Division. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

(1903). The Snowstorm in the Broadway Production the musical extravaganza The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. [Print Photo]. Billy Rose Theatre Division. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

(2009). Montgomery and stone as the tin man and scarecrow in wizard of oz. [Web Photo]. Billy Rose Theatre Division. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. The New York Public Library Digital Gallery. Retrieved from http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?th-37687

(2009). Montgomery and stone as the tin man and scarecrow in wizard of oz. [Web Photo]. Billy Rose Theatre Division. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. The New York Public Library Digital Gallery. Retrieved from http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?th-37690

(2010). Dorothy and Imogene. [Web Photo]. Canton Comic Opera Company. Retrieved from http://www.cantoncomicoperaco.com

(2010). Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman, Wizard. [Web Photo]. Canton Comic Opera Company. Retrieved from http://www.cantoncomicoperaco.com

(2010). Photographer and Cowardly Lion. [Web Photo]. Canton Comic Opera Company. Retrieved from http://www.cantoncomicoperaco.com

(2010). Football. [Web Photo]. Canton Comic Opera Company. Retrieved from http://www.cantoncomicoperaco.com

(2011). Fred A. Stone as The Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. [Fred Hamlin’s Extravaganza The Wizard of Oz. Produced by Julian Mitchell.] . [Web Graphic]. Billy Rose Theatre Division. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. The New York Public Library Digital Gallery. Retrieved from http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?psnypl_the_4302

Brennan, James A. (Composer). Fisher, E. S. (Illustrator). (1912). Fraidy cat / words and music by Jas. A. Brennan. [Web Graphic]. Music Division. The New York Library for the Performing Arts. The New York Public Library Digital Gallery. Retrieved from http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?g99c832_001

Dripps, Matthew. (1877). Manhattan, New York, N.Y., 1877 (Raster Image). Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ed. W. Welcke & Bro. Harvard Map Collection, Harvard College Library. Retrieved from http://hgl.harvard.edu:8080/HGL/jsp/HGL.jsp?action=VColl&VCollName=G3804_N4_1877_D71

Leo, Frank (Composer). (1900). That’s where she sits all day … / words and music by Frank Leo. [Web Graphic]. Music Division. The New York Library for the Performing Arts. The New York Public Library Digital Gallery. Retrieved from http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?1268905

Mancuso, Ben. (1947). Theater-goers queue for tickets for Allegro at the Majestic Theatre (New York, N.Y.). [Web Photo]. Billy Rose Theatre Collection. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. The New York Public Library Digital Gallery. Retrieved from http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?1809307

Marceau. (Photographer). (1903). Allene crater in ‘the wizard of oz.’ . [Web Photo]. J. Willis Sayre Photographs. University of Washington, Digital Collection. Retrieved from http://content.lib.washington.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/sayrepublic&CISOPTR=8285&DMSCALE=100&DMWIDTH=802&DMHEIGHT=601.5&DMMODE=viewer&DMFULL=1&DMX=0&DMY=0&DMTEXT=&DMTHUMB=0&REC=16&DMROTATE=0&x=562&y=296

Praefcke, Andreas. (2007). The Majestic Theatre. [Web Photo]. Wikimedia Commons. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Majestic_Theatre_NYC_2007.jpg

Promotional Poster for The Wizard of Oz Circa 1903. (2012). Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hamlin_Wizarsd_of_Oz.jpg

Steckel, George. (Photographer). (1911). Copy of a George Steckel portrait of L. Frank Baum, author of “The Wizard of Oz” circa 1911. [Web Photo]. Los Angeles Times photographic archive, UCLA Library. Retrieved from http://unitproj.library.ucla.edu/dlib/lat/display.cfm?ms=uclalat_1429_b3692_G329&searchType=subject&subjectID=215516

White Studio (Photographer). (2010). The wizard of oz keysheet. . [Web Photo]. Billy Rose Theatre Division. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. The New York Public Library Digital Gallery. Retrieved from http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?g99f522_001

Bibliographic Resources
Baum, L. Frank (1903). Music and the Drama. The Chicago Record Herald. Wayback Machine: Internet Archive. Retrieved from http://web.archive.org/web/20050304132711/mywebpages.comcast.net/scottandrewh/matd.htm

Baum, L. Frank. (1901). The Wizard of Oz: A Musical Comedy A Dramatic Composition in Three Acts. [Manuscript]. Billy Rose Theatre Collection. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Hearn, M. P., & Gardener, M. (2000). Preface/introduction to the annotated wizard of oz. In The Annotated Wizard of Oz. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Jones, John Bush. (2003). Our Musicals, Ourselves: A Social History of American Musical Theatre. Lebanon, NH: Brandeis University Press.

(1904). Mr. Baum to the Public. The Chicago Tribune: June 26, 1904.

The wizard of oz (1902 musical). (2012). Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wizard_of_Oz_(1902_musical)

Multimedia
O’Dea, James, Hutchinson, Edward. (2010). Sammy. Canton Comedic Opera Company. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaUEdntj1tY&feature=relmfu

Teitjens, Paul, Baum, L. Frank (2012). The Traveller and the Pie. Canton Comedic Opera Company. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOWJDjmt4GU&feature=relmfu

Zimmerman, Charles, Bryan, Vincent. (2010). Football. Canton Comedic Opera Company. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qn7S-fcZhhE&feature=relmfu

Inspiration
P. 21-22 “My only connection with Fred Stone was that I saw him in The Wizard of Oz around the beginning of the century…”

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