The Wonderful Wiz of Oz

By: Kristen O

The annual Spring Musical is coming up and this year Marymount has picked The Wiz, a modern take of The Wizard of Oz.

Renditions of the Wizard of OZ

Title Year Media Type
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 1900 Book
The Wizard of Oz 1902 Musical
His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz 1914 Movie
Wizard of Oz 1925 Movie
The Wizard of Oz 1939 Movie
The Wizard of Mars 1965 Movie
The Wiz 1974 Musical
Oz 1976 Movie
The Wiz 1978 Movie
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 1987 Movie
The Muppets Wizard of Oz 2005 Movie
Tinman 2007 Movie
After the Wizard 2011 Movie
Oz the Great and Powerful 2013 Movie
The Wiz Live! 2015 TV Special

Over the course of a century, there have been 15 interpretations of the children’s classic. From a traditional movie, to an R&B African American rendition which hit Broadway in 1974; which was turned into a movie in 1978 featuring iconic stars such as Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Although they are all based on the same classic, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, the producers of each of them made some tweaks when creating these productions, whether it was a Broadway musical or a modern TV special.

The Wiz (movie) and The Wiz (musical), have a few things in common: they are both adaptations of “The Wonderful Wizard of OZ” and they are both based on African American culture. Other than that, their plots are vastly different.

In the movie, Dorothy is an introverted 24 year old teacher who is too scared to start an independent life as an adult. She lives with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry. During a Thanksgiving dinner in her relatives’ Harlem apartment, Dorothy was cleaning up and Toto, her dog, runs out of the kitchen door while there was an awful snow storm. When she gets Toto back, she gets swept away in the storm, which takes her an entirely different realm called Oz, where she is introduced to Glinda, the Good Witch of the South.

On the other hand, in the musical, Dorothy has a desire to leave her Aunt and Uncle, but her family wants her to stay with them. Later on when she is in the farmhouse, a tornado sweeps her away from her world and takes her to Oz, where she meets Addaperle, the Good Witch in the North.

Despite having many differences, these two renditions tell the same story. They tell the story of a girl who is taken away from her own world, and the journey she has to face in order to make her way back home. But most of all these renditions show us that even if something is new and different, it isn’t necessarily scary. It taught us about growing up and how life is a journey. And if some of us are lucky, we may make some life long friends along the way.


One comment

  1. I love this article. I have been involved in many plays and there is always the question of which version to assimilate. It was nice to see the similarities and differences between the different renditions. Furthermore, the description of these productions is quite marvellous. Congratulations on your article.


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