An eclectic website about Women, Christianity,
History, Culture and the Arts--
and anything else that comes to mind.
The Wizard and Us
Three generations of our family have appeared in productions related to
the Wizard of Oz.
In the 1961-62 school year, the drama department at West Texas State
University put on the Wizard of Oz, based on the 1939 MGM movie. I
was a flying monkey. I had no lines, no songs--just jumped around the
stage in a black leotard with red net “wings.” I still remember the pain of
jumping with my knees bent.
In the 1980s, our family lived in Lawndale. When our son Robert was in
elementary school, his teacher Esther Wallman put on a musical of the
Wizard of Oz. Robert played the Cowardly Lion. He even had a solo, “If
I Were King of the Forest,” which he delivered in the dramatic Bert Lahr
style of the movie. We were moving up in the world of Oz productions.
This year, we reached a pinnacle when granddaughter Katyana appeared
in the Adderley School production of Wicked, May 19 at Theatre
She played the Wizard, and she had a show-stopper of a solo with “So
You Wanted to Meet the Wizard” from The Wiz. She started the scene
standing on two boxes with her back to the audience. Then she spun
around, her shimmering cape billowing. "I am Oz, the great and terrible,"
she says to the trembling witches. "Who are you and why do you seek
The performance was directed and choreographed by our friend Layla
Brisco, who put it together using songs from both musicals.
At 7, Katyana was the youngest member of the cast, the rest being 8- and
9-year-olds. For her solo, she kept that cape in motion with crisp, broad
arm gestures, her voice filling the theater.
During the rest of the performance, she played Milla, a classmate of the
witches at “Dear Old Shiz,” singing and dancing with the Company.
The rest of this website includes articles on the 1939 Judy Garland film,
1978's Motown version, The Wiz, and the Steven Schwartz musical
Wicked, telling the back stories of the two witches. A new variation, Oz
the Great and Powerful, was released in theaters earlier this year.
I hope you enjoy the website and share your response to the various
iterations of the theme with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Katyana plays the Wizard in the Adderley School production of Wicked in Pacific Palisades.
That's me, the flying monkey on the
right, from our yearbook at WTSU.
Our son Robert, 10, playing the
Cowardly Lion at Jame Addams
Elementary School in Lawndale.
Katyana hugs director/choreographer
Layla Brisco after the performance.