Adapted from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum : Book by William F. Brown
Music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls
Majestic Theatre, Broadway - January 5, 1975 (1672 perfs)
Lyric Hammersmith, London - 8 December, 1984
Very many know the story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but in this new musical version it's a fantasy for today - mysterious, opulent and fanciful - a dream conjured up by a space-age child with Dorothy's adventures in the Land of Oz set to music in a dazzling, lively mixture of rock, gospel and soul.
- "Radiates so much energy you can hardly sit in your seat ... Great fun." New York Post
- "A carnival of fun ... Wickedly amusing." Time Magazine
- "One of the most cyclonic blasts to hit Broadway in a long time." Newsweek
- "A virtual musical circus ... Driving rhythms, soaring songs ... Boisterous, exuberant." WABCTV
The Wiz is a black version of the perennial Wizard of Oz. The characters and story line are largely faithful to the 1939 movie version of L. Frank Baum's 1900 story.
It begins on a tumbledown farm in Kansas, but the tornado sets Dorothy and Toto down in a bit-city-like Oz. The words are jive, the songs upbeat. After celebrating the demise of the Wicked Witch of the East with the Munchkins, Dorothy departs for the Emerald City with a live yellow brick road. She encounters a hip Scarecrow who wants to join her because he has a feelng he isn't going anywhere; an uptight Tin Man who needs Dorothy's help to hang loose again, and a mama's-boy Lion who has lost faith in the psychiatric help he's been getting from an owl. Together they will seek help from the Great Man in the flashy city.
They encounter the deadly poppy field, and all escape except the Lion, who is tripping off with a group of the sensuous flowers. He is rescued by the mice squad, decidedly against his will. They meet with the Wizard, who agrees to grant all their wishes as a package deal — if they knock off Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West.
They nearly get to Evillene
but are captured by her manacing winged monkeys. Only when the witch
is at her meanest does Dorothy lose her cool and douse the old hag
with water. Quite surprisingly, the wicked witch melts to a harmless
puddle. Confronted with their triumph, the Wiz confesses that he was
only a two-bit con man from Omaha until the Almighty Himself told him
to come to the big city to spread the word about the simple things
in life — power,
prestige, and money — that only through his ability to give everyone
in town a pair of green sunglasses has he been recognized as the powerful
Wiz. Then, using similar magic, he convinces the Scarecrow, the Tin
Man, and the Lion of their brains, heart, and courage. There is the
normal mix-up during his departure in his balloon without Dorothy and
the re-appearance of the good witches, Addaperle and Glinda, who inform
Dorothy that she has merely to click the heels of her silver slippers
together three times to return home.
42 parts, 11 principals, 4 pit singers, 14 sing/ dance chorus.
Dorothy, petite actress with good singing voice who dances.
Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion, exceptional character actors who sing and dance.
The Wiz, character man who sings.
Evillene, character actress with strong voice.
Addaperle and Glinda, actresses who can sing.
Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and Lord High Underling, actors who can sing.
Yellow Brick Road, Munchkins,
Crows, Kalidahs, Poppies, Field Mice, Winged Monkeys, sing/dancers in
clever costumes, who can act.
The dog Toto.
Large sing/dance chorus. Written to double small parts and features.
Total cast 50-70.
SCENES AND SETS: 2 acts, 13 scenes; sets are full stage. Only the Throne Room repeats. There is a semi-unit playing area in which the stage set pieces flow in and out. Light and projections are important. Paddywagon, coaches, and other conveyances.
Prologue - Kansas
Scene 1: Munchkin Land
Scene 2: Oz Countryside
Scene 3: Woods
Scene 4: Jungle
Scene 5: Kalidah Country
Scene 6: Poppy Field
Scene 7: Emerald City
Scene 8: Throne Room
Scene 1: West Witch Castle
Scene 2: Forest
Scene 3: Courtyard
Scene 4: Emerald City Gate
Scene 5: Throne Room
Scene 6: Fairgrounds
Scene 7: Outskirts of Quadling Country
- The Feeling We Once Had - Aunt 'Em
- Tornado Ballet
- He's the Wiz - Addaperle, Munchkins
- Soon As I Get Home - Ensemble
- I Was Born on the Day Before Yesterday - Scarecrow
- Ease on Down the Road #1 - Dorothy, Scarecrow, Yellow Brick Road
- Slide Some Oil To Me - Tinman, Dorothy, Scarecrow
- Ease on Down the Road (reprise) - Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tineman, Yellow Brick Road
- Mean Ole Lion - Lion
- Ease on Down the Road - Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tineman, Yellow Brick Road
- Kalidah Battle - Friends, Kalidahs, Yellow Brick Road
- Be a Lion - Dorothy, Lion
- Lion's Dream - Lion, Poppies
- Emerald City Ballet (Pssst!) - Friends, Company - Music by Timothy Graphenreed and George Faison
- So You Wanted to Meet the Wizard - The Wiz
- To Be Able To Feel - Tinman
- No Bad News - Evillene
- Funky Monkeys - Monkeys
- Everybody Rejoice (Brand new Day) - Friends, Winkies - Music and lyrics by Luther Vandross
- Who Do You Think You Are? - Friends
- If You Believe (Believe in Yourself) - The Wiz
- Y'All Got It! - The Wiz
- A rested Body Is a Rested Mind - Glinda
- Home - Dorothy
Percussion I-II, guitar, bass, drums, reed I-II (flute, alto sax), reed III (clarinet, alto flute, tenor sax), reed IV (oboe, baritone sax), horn, trumpets I-II, trumpet III, trombone I, cello, violins I-Il, piano also acoustic piano and moog, piano, conductor's score.
Period and Costumes
Farm overalls and dresses, Dorothy's Sunday dress. Tornado and dancers dressed as wind, hip Munchkins, and queenly rags for Addaperle, silver slippers, Yellow Brick Road (4), Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion costumes with upbeat, urban flavor added to the traditional. The Wicked Witch of the West, earthly rags (lots of layers, dark colors, coarse textures). Kalidahs, weird, frightening swamplike creatures. Poppies, beautiful, sinuous streetwalkers. Green costumes for Wiz, gatekeeper, and the people of Oz. Winkies (the witches' stooges), appropriately dressed. Winged monkeys. Wiz's white flightsuit, goggles, and jeweled cape. Fantasy costumes for townspeople, the good and bad witches.
Jazz, modern, ballet, rock, production numbers.
Lighting and Special Effects:
Tight, controlled, colorful lighting throughout. Special projection effects for the Wizard, "Flying" Mon-keys, melting witch, tornado, and many other magical effects such as smokepots, CO2-fog, ascending hot-air balloon, and magic tricks.
NOTES: The movie version of The Wiz departed significantly from the musical's story line. With the classic Judy Garland version before them, the film company apparently felt they could not just remake a black version. In the movie all action takes place in New York City.
Original Broadway Cast Recording. Click image to buy.