Wizard of Oz
Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – October 2019
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”
A young girl, Dorothy Gale, lives on a farm in Kansas with Aunt Em, Uncle Henry and little dog, Toto. Feeling unappreciated, she dreams of a far away place (“Over the Rainbow”). Miss Almira Gulch, their unpleasant neighbour, comes to the farm to take Toto away, claiming that he bit her. Toto escapes from her bicycle basket and Dorothy decides to run away from home with him. On the road, they meet a showman, Professor Marvel, who persuades her to return to the farm. Dorothy arrives home just as a tornado touches down, but she and Toto are locked out of the storm cellar. Hiding in the house, she is accidentally hit on the head by a window.
The tornado carries the house away to the Land of Oz; there, Dorothy meets the Munchkins and Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. The house has landed on, and killed, the Wicked Witch of the East. This frees the Munchkins and they treat Dorothy as their heroine (“Come Out, Come Out”; “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead”). The Wicked Witch of the West arrives to claim her sister’s magic ruby slippers and vows to avenge her death. But Glinda has already put the slippers on Dorothy’s feet. Dorothy wants to go home to Kansas, so the Munchkins tell her that the Wizard of Oz will know what to do (“Follow the Yellow Brick Road”). She starts off towards the Emerald City.
On the road, Dorothy and Toto first meet the Scarecrow whose head is full of straw (“If I Only Had a Brain”), then the rusty Tin Man whose chest is empty (“If I Only Had a Heart”) and finally the Cowardly Lion, who is afraid of his own tail (“If I Only Had the Nerve”). Dorothy suggests they come with her to see if the Wizard can help them (“We’re Off to See the Wizard”). The Wicked Witch of the West threatens them along the way; she creates a beautiful field of poppies, but their scent is poisonous. Glinda rescues the travellers by covering the poppies with snowflakes (“Optimistic Voices”). They finally arrive at the Emerald City.
The Emerald City’s Guard tries to discourage them, but they persuade him to let them in (“The Merry Old Land of Oz”). They are washed, combed and buffed, but the Wizard refuses to meet them. The Wicked Witch makes another appearance and the Lion again wishes he had courage (“If I Were King of the Forest”). The Guard relents and takes them to see the fearsome Wizard; the four friends are given a quest to prove themselves worthy of his assistance. They must bring him the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West, but the only way to do that would be to kill her.
The friends leave for the land of the Winkies (whom the Wicked Witch has enslaved and forced to serve in her army) and her castle (“March of the Winkies”). In a haunted forest, the jitterbugs make the travellers dance until they all collapse from exhaustion (“The Jitterbug”). The Wicked Witch’s winged monkeys attack, swooping away with Dorothy and Toto. The witch still does not have the power to take the ruby slippers off Dorothy’s feet (“Over the Rainbow” – reprise). Toto manages to escape and help the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion to find her. They disguise themselves in Winkie uniforms and sneak into the castle. They find her, but the Wicked Witch foils their escape. She attacks the Scarecrow with fire, and Dorothy throws a bucket of water at him, accidentally dousing the witch. She screams, steams, and melts into nothing (“Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead” – reprise). The friends take her broom back to the Emerald City.
The Wizard is again reluctant to meet Dorothy and friends. Toto pulls aside the curtain behind which the Wizard is revealed as an ordinary man using a microphone to make his voice impressive. Nevertheless, he is able to help the travellers. He conducts a graduation exercise, awarding the Scarecrow a doctorate of Thinkology, appointing the Lion as a member of the Legion of Courage, and presenting the Tin Man with a heart-shaped ticker – a clock. Finally, he reveals that he is from the prairies himself and offers to give Dorothy a ride back to Kansas in the hot-air balloon that brought him to Oz. It takes off while she is distracted, and she is afraid that she has missed her chance to go home, but Glinda arrives. She says that Dorothy had the power all along to transport herself and Toto by clicking her heels together three times and repeating “There’s no place like home”.
Dorothy wakes up in Kansas with a bump on her head. The tornado has passed. Miss Gulch broke her leg when the storm blew down a telegraph pole – she won’t be riding her bicycle any time soon. Dorothy is overjoyed to see her family and friends, whom she now appreciates more than ever.
Director – Simon Pugh
Choreographer – Claire Flavell
Musical Director – Ian Room
|Dorothy Gale||Jessica Harrison|
|Tin Man||Elliott Mann|
|Wicked Witch of the West||Sarah Moors|
|Wizard of Oz||Tim Jones|
|Three Crows||Grace Bradshaw|
|Three Trees||Megan Bruce|
|Winkie General||Simon Peacock|
|Nikko, Commander of the Monkeys||Matt Evans|
|Ozians||All Adult Chorus|