Oz in the News 3.31.15

the-wiz-broadway‘The Wiz’ NBC’s Next Live Musical, With Cirque Du Soleil; Broadway Revival Planned  NBC’s next live television production will be an update of hit Broadway musical The Wiz, debuting December 3, but this time the network has partnered with Cirque du Soleil to co-produce the live event. It will then become a Broadway revival for the 2016-17 season.  The Wiz is adapted from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Subsequently, Baum’s book was adapted as a stage musical with a book by William F. Brown, and music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls. The adaptation, which featured an all-black cast, debuted in October, 1974 at the Morris Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore. It moved to Broadway’s Majestic Theatre on January, 1975, where it ran for four years and won seven Tonys, including best musical.

“Over the Rainbow” Songwriter’s Great Grandson Journeys Back to Oz  “The Wizard of Oz was always just sort of background for me,” Aaron Harburg told SF Weekly. “I can’t even remember when I first learned it. It’s sort of like asking when you learned that 2 + 2 = 4. It’s just always there, a fun fact that was our little claim to fame.”  Harburg also explained the special appeal that Judy Garland, and musicals, have with gay men. “The film starts with a girl who feels out of place,” he observed. “Many gay men, myself included, are forced with a monotonous reminder of being different, or out of place in a heteronormative society.The desire to escape to a place of acceptance is very intense in gay men.” There were other reasons for Wizard‘s appeal to gay audiences. “Oz is fabulous!” exclaimed Harburg. “Why would you want to go home after going there? But I suppose that’s the point. Even if everything is all colorful and exciting, that doesn’t mean it’s fulfilling.”

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