15 December 2015

Marvelous Land in Minneapolis

Back in 1981, the Children’s Theatre Company and School of Minneapolis staged a production of L. Frank Baum’s The Marvelous Land of Oz. On its blog the company has posted some photographs and videos of the show, along with these production notes:
Originally, the production was to be mounted by a guest writer/director but, ultimately, his concepts were felt not to be a good aesthetic match with the Company and so, fairly last-minute, the production team changed. Artistic Director John Clark Donahue assumed the role of stage director and Thomas W. Olson, resident playwright who previously that season had created the scripts for "The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant" and "The Clown of God," quickly began working on a new adaptation, while Gary Briggle was engaged to write lyrics with Richard A. Dworsky's music. . . .

At the time, ticket prices were $6.95 for adults and $4.95 for children, general seating. . . .

With "The Marvelous Land of OZ," the Company embarked on a three-year relationship with professional video producers The Television Theatre Company, shutting down the theatre for two weeks at the end of the season and transforming the auditorium into a video soundstage. The following winter, "The Marvelous Land of OZ" was distributed by MCA/Universal for cablecast on Showtime/HBO (winning a cable ACE award for outstanding family entertainment) and was also made available for home purchase on videocassette.
I saw the show when it was on cable TV and was impressed by how closely it followed the book. It was obviously a filmed stage production, not a movie, but it was a good one.

At the bottom of this posting about the CTC’s 1980-81 season are more photos from The Marvelous Land of Oz, what looks like a complete scan of the program, and the Minneapolis Tribune review. Plus some shots of Edward Albee looking grumpy and (connected to a previous show) Tomie De Paola looking svelte.

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