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The Gordon School

The Wizards of Oz

This year's Middle School musical brings together over half of the Middle School for The Wizards of Oz, a mindblowing expansion of the classic movie musical that adds elements - and songs - from The Wiz and Wicked.

from the director's note:

Most of us associate The Wizard of Oz with the beloved movie classic released in 1939, thought to be the most watched movie in history. It defines our understanding of the story. The film was based on a well-known book, The Wonderful World of Oz, written in 1900 by L. Frank Baum, which is often interpreted as a complex commentary on the political climate at the turn of the last century. In striking similarity to today’s political landscape, the Populist movement at the time was “a rising third-party campaign of angry disenfranchised “plain people” (farmers and, to a smaller degree, factory workers) seeking to wrest power from bankers and business leaders,” (Smithsonian), and the book was filled with related symbolism. 

However, in its simplest form, the story builds on the classical tradition of the hero adventure: Dorothy embarks on a maturational journey (most frequently interpreted as a dream sequence), in which she encounters the alter-egos of the people she is closest back in Kansas. She faces a series of challenges that seem to meet every hero, but Dorothy must rise to them in her own way while remaining true to herself.

Our version, The Wizards of Oz, seeks to contemporize the storytelling by adding in elements from two famous subsequent versions: the ground-breaking, all African American musical The Wiz, and the popular story of Wicked, which premiered in 2003 to explain why the Wicked Witch is so, well, wicked. In the most general sense, The Wizard of Oz ultimately is about the struggle between good and evil, bringing about a clear resolution and a singular triumph we rarely see in real life. As we learn through the experience of Dorothy’s travels, sometimes there are reasons why people do bad things, why they are mean and act “ugly.” Sometimes there is no reason. Good exists and evil exists and it is our ability to tell the difference, and to forgive, that makes us human.

Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 6:30pm, free and open to the public. More photos from the dress rehearsal are online.

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