The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is the name of a children's novel by L. Frank Baum (1856-1919)[1].

Often referred to simply as The Wizard of Oz

The original text

Originally published om 1900 as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by the George M. Hill Company., with illustrations by written by W.W. Denslow. The popular book was followed by a series of Oz Books.

Translations and adaptations

The book inspired 13 sequels, a number of stage versions, including two musicals, and a number of films over the years (among them three silent films and the iconic 1939 Judy Garland film[])

Original stage version

The novel was first adapted as a stage play in 1902 and first staged in Chicago then on Broadway 1903, running for nearly 300 performances from January 21, 1903 to December 31, 1904, followed by travelling tours of the original cast.

The Wiz (1974)

In 1974 a radical stage adaptation, called The Wiz, offered a retelling of Baum's children's novel in the context of contemporary African-American culture. It opened at the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore on October 21, 1974, then moved to Broadway's Majestic Theatre with a new cast on January 5, 1975.

Wicked (2003)

In the musical Wicked[2] (with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman) opened at the Curran Theatre, San Francisco on 28 May, 2003. It is based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, (which of course derives from L. Frank Baum's 1900 novel and the 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film).

South African adaptations include an adaptation by Darryl Nel (2004) and a one-woman show written and performed by Adi Paxton (2019).

Performance history in South Africa

1965: South African productions include a version by Taubie Kushlick for the Children's Theatre at the University Great Hall in 1965. Musical direction by Keith Blundell, extra music and lyrics by Des Lindberg, choreography by Dawn Silver (Lindberg), set design by Nina Campbell-Quine and costumes by Heather MacDonald-Rouse.

1966: Presented by the Arts Theatre Club at the Guild Theatre, directed by Hazel Muller, musical direction by Mavis Woods.

1986: In December 1986 Mavis Taylor directed a production in the Nico Malan Theatre starring Sandi Schultz, Marthinus Basson, David Dennis, Mark Graham, Diane Wilson and Lionel Newton. Decor designed by Louis Jansen van Vuuren and Peter Cazalet.

1986: Presented by the Arts Theatre Club assisted by CAPAB at the East London Guild Theatre (directed by Glynn Day), musical direction by Jim Purkis, choreography by Margie Panhofer, Barry West and Nola West. Sets and costumes designed by Hugh Durant. With Louise Pulford/Elizabeth Durno (Dorothy), Mark Dickinson (Tin Man), Darryl Nel (Scarecrow), Mike Ormston (Lion), Helena Archer (Auntie Em/Glynda), Keith Durno (Uncle Henry/Lord Growlie), Nola West (Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch of the West), Christopher Coutts, Joy Archer, Anne Archer, Ernie Butterworth, Arthur de Klerk, Benjamin Peaceful, Anthony Pulford, Michael Pulford, Barry West, James Durno, James Salmond, Doug Shewell, Peter Dickinson, Kelly Stocks, Maria de Boer, George Mountjoy.

1991: Presented by PACOFS in the Sand du Plessis Theatre in August 1991 directed by David Matheson, music directed by Norbert Nowotny, costume and decor design by Penny Simpson, choreography by Di Ruddick. Tobie Cronjé appeared as the Wicked Witch, Paul Buckby portrayed the Scarecrow, Paul Lückhoff the Tinman and Mike Huff the Lion. Other cast members were Bella Mariani, John Dennison, Joey Wishnia and Rory Rosenberg.

1995: The Wiz first performed at the Natal Playhouse, Durban, on 15 December. Presented by the Playhouse Company by special arrangement with DALRO. Directed by David Matheson, choreographer Alfred Hinkel, musical director Lykele Temmingh, lighting design Joe Freedman, set and costume design Penny Simpson. Sam Marais appeared as "The Wiz".

2004: An adaptation by Darryl Nel was presented by DSN Productions at the Port Elizabeth Opera House in November, December 2004 directed by Darryl Nel, with a cast of six playing multiple roles: Candice Johnstone (Dorothy), Alison Canter (Auntie Em, Scarecrow, Lord Growly), Darryl Nel (Miss Gulch, Wicked Witch of the West, Lion), Andrew Horne (Uncle Henry, Tin Man, Glynda the Good Witch), Bob Law (the Wizard), Warren May (body double), with Debbie Quicke on piano.

2006: The Wiz presented by The Young Performers Project (YPP), at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, Durban.

2019: The novel was adapted as a one-woman show and performed at the Rhumbelow Theatre, Umbilo, Durban, by Adi Paxton from 25 to 28 September.


Nico Malan Theatre Centre pamphlet

PACOFS News 17(3), 1991.

The Herald, 1 December 2004

Arts Theatre Club archive held by George Mountjoy.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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