Charles H. Stewart

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The Wizard Of Oz

The Wizard of Oz was a 1902 musical play extravaganza based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, which was originally published in 1900. It premiered in Chicago and later moved to Broadway in 1903, where it ran for nearly 293 performances from January 21, 1903 to December 31, 1904, followed by traveling tours of the original cast. It starred Anna Laughlin as Dorothy Gale, Fred Stone as The Scarecrow and David C. Montgomery as the Tin Woodman (who is called Niccolo Chopper in the play [per the books, he had begun life as human Nick Chopper]). Arthur Hill (no relation to the Canadian film, theatre and TV actor) played the Cowardly Lion, but in this version, his role was reduced to a bit part. An element from the show — the snowfall caused by the Good Witch which finally kills the spell of the poppies that had put Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion to sleep — was later used in the 1939 movie starring Judy Garland as Dorothy, Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion and Jack Haley as the Tinman.

Dorothy lives on a farm in Kansas until a tornado arrives, and picks her, her house, and her dog up and drops them in the land of Oz. Wishing to return home, the munchkins and the Good Witch tell her to visit the Wizard of Oz, who they say can grant her wish, in Emerald City.  On her way, she meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. They all hope the Wizard of Oz will help them too, before the Wicked Witch of the West catches up with them.


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