Quote of the Day: You’ve had the power within you all along, Dorothy. Glinda, the Good Witch, to Dorothy at the end of her journey when she truly wishes to go back home.
Credited as “America’s best loved and homegrown fairly-tale” by the Library of Congress, all those who are young at heart have been reading and rereading, watching and re-watching this beloved story for over 100 years. First published by L. Frank Baum in 1900, it quickly received critical and popular success. In 1902, it was adapted as a musical stage play, and in 1939 the MGM film adaptation appeared on the silver screen with all the technicolor splendor of its time, changing Dorothy’s silver shoes into sparkling Ruby Slippers, and a horse of many colors transformed before our very eyes. It was aired annually on television from 1959-1991, can be seen on the big screen in Grand Rapids, MN every summer during the Judy Garland festival, and now we can all own it on the latest media and watch it whenever we want to revisit the story. Can you remember the first time you saw The Wizard of Oz? I can’t remember the first time, but I do remember getting excited every year as we all gathered around the television to watch the annual showing. We grew up watching Dorothy leave her ordinary farm with its work and drudgery and mean, old neighbor who wanted to do away with her darling pet Toto. A frightening natural event, the cyclone, whirls her off to an alternate reality where everything is bright and colorful, but filled with hidden dangers. People aren’t necessarily happier in Oz. They have wicked people harming them, confusing them, and controlling them. The other creatures have their own hang-ups to deal with. An unlikely band of friends, (Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the cowardly Lion) set off on a quest to find their heart’s desire.
We eat this stuff up! It’s us, all of us who are unsatisfied with our lives and go off seeking other places and faces. And, just like Dorothy we run into pitfalls, evil-doers who try to stop us, poppy fields that lull us to sleep, flying monkeys that rip us apart, and rulers who seem great and powerful that turn out to be frauds. Have you ever wondered where your yellow brick road is?
We brought three 8-year-olds to The Children’s Theatre Company production of The Wizard of Oz. They were watching this story unfold for the first time. They admitted to watching just parts of it on TV, but never seeing the entire show. And, here they were, watching it live with all the beloved characters right in front of them, living, breathing, dancing, falling, fearing, and succeeding. We grown-ups were there because we grew up with this story. We love it. We enjoy experiencing it over and over. And, as adults, we’re looking and listening for our favorite parts, which are all there in this production, and yet, wanting something a little different to make it interesting, and we get that, too. The songs are all there, sung by different people with their own unique voices and style, done to live music, and set to the gorgeous backdrop of the Children’s Theatre stage, and enhanced by the stunning costumes. What a marvelous production. I think that CTC out-did themselves this time! We all agreed that the poppy scene (you can see the umbrellas and costumes in the background of the above photo) was one of our favorites. The dancing girls are partially hidden by the bright red (poppy) umbrellas, their masks, and make-up. Their dance is beautiful and hypnotizing, and Dorothy and the Lion quickly succumb. With the help of their friends, they are brought out of the spell.
The Wizard of Oz has all the spell-binding images and story that captivates kids and anyone who is young at heart. It’s a story that has all the heart and lasting power of beloved characters and their journey that keeps adults coming back. You can see it now on stage at The Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, November 3, 2015 – January 16, 2016. It is for “all ages,” but you know your kids best. It runs about two hours with one 15-minute intermission, and the cyclone scene is loud and a little frightening, as are the flying monkeys. (Did anyone else have flying monkey nightmares as a child?) The colors, humor, and fascination of the characters and story keep the story light and hopeful.
We’re off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Click your heels three times and…
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: Do you remember the first time you saw The Wizard of Oz, or was it an annual tradition? Where is your yellow brick road?
Also playing at The Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis is The Jungle Book. According to my friend who attended, this story is so well acted by just a few actors playing numerous parts that she was surprised when only five actors came out to take a bow at the end of the show! They have extended performances to Dec. 6, 2015.