It’s a big year for the iconic piece of American pop culture, The Wizard of Oz, as the film celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2019. And that’s not the only anniversary that we’re celebrating with this production—The Wizard of Oz is director Philip Wm. McKinley’s 13th show at Starlight—a new record! Needless to say, we’re celebrating in a BIG way by making The Wizard of Oz bigger and better than ever, playing under the stars June 10-16.
As Starlight’s only self-produced show of the 2019 AdventHealth Broadway Series, the cast and creative team have been hard at work at the historic theatre in Swope Park. This heartwarming show tells the tale of Dorothy’s quest to return home, and the unlikely friendships she makes along the way. Based upon the book by L. Frank Baum, this family favorite takes audiences from the plains of Kansas to the dreamlike world of Oz, and finally to the glittering Emerald City. But, did you know, the film was not the first incarnation of the book?
The first adaptation was actually a stage production! In 1902, L. Frank Baum himself penned the script for a three-act musical adaptation, which opened in Chicago later that year and on Broadway in 1903. But that Wizard had elements that today’s audience may not recognize—for example, instead of Toto, Dorothy’s pet was a cow named Imogene.
There were numerous other incarnations between 1902 and 1939, and after, but the Judy Garland film remains the most known (and most loved!) to date. It received much critical and public acclaim and was nominated for five Academy Awards—winning Best Original song for “Over the Rainbow.”
The version you’ll see on the Starlight stage June 10-16 was originally adapted by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1987 and was created to more closely resemble the 1939 film than previous stage adaptations—including some of the memorable special effects, like the flying monkeys. Most notably, in the score, the creative team added back a verse that had been previously cut from “Over the Rainbow,” and put “The Jitterbug” back in to the stage production.
Celebrate this landmark anniversary with your friends and family. The Wizard of Oz plays Starlight, June 10-16. Tickets available online, by calling 816-363-7827, or by visiting the box office at 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo., 64114.