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Originally Staged by


Based on Baum's novel

First produced at the Majestic Theatre on January 21, 1903, with Fred Stone as "Scarecrow" and David Montgomery as "Tin Woodman".

Poster from the original stage extravaganzaTHE WIZARD OF OZ, one of the most successful American stage extravaganzas of the early twentieth century, has about it the magic and wonder of a child's world of fantasy. As the play begins, a cyclone lifts Dorothy Dale and her pet cow, Imogene, from their farm in Kansas to Oz, a fairy garden. When the Kansas farmhouse crashes from the sky it kills the cruel witch who for so many years has ruled so despotically over the Munchkins--inhabitants of Oz. The Munchkins are now free. In gratitude the good witch of Oz presents Dorothy with a ring which has the power to grant two wishes. To test the ring, Dorothy wastes her first wish on a trifle. But she has saved her second wish to bring Scarecrow back to life. The latter complains that he has lost his brains, that the only person able to restore them to him is the Wizard of Oz. And so, Dorothy and the Scarecrow go off in search of the Wizard. On the way they meet and are joined by the Tin Woodsman who is on the hunt for his heart, which was lost when he fell in love with Cynthia. The three go through various episodes and adventures, but in the end they do manage to find the Wizard. Thus Scarecrow gets back his brains, and the Tin Man his heart--much to the delight of little Dorothy.

The musical score was shared by Sloane and Tiejens. Among the best songs contributed by Sloane were "Niccolo's Piccolo" and "The Medley of Nations", while the best of Tiejens included "When You Love, Love, Love" and "I've Waited for you in Loveland". During the long initial Broadway run, and on its subsequent nation-wide tour, various songs by other composers were interpolated from time to time. Two of these became major successes--indeed, they are the leading song hits of the entire show: "Sammy" by James O'Dea and Edward Hutchinson, and "Hurrah for Baffin's Bay" by Vincent Bryan and Charles Zimmerman.

Mention should be made that when the excellent motion picture adaptation was filmed, starring Judy Garland, and released in 1939, none of the songs from the original stage score were used. Harold Arlen wrote a completely new score that included "Over the Rainbow", which won the Academy Award as the best song to come from the screen that season, and which from then on served as Judy Garland's theme song.

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This document was originally published in The Complete Book of Light Opera. Mark Lubbock. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1962. pp. 776-7.

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