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Further Stage Adventures in Oz, Part Forty-five: Songs in the Key of Oz

Songs in the Key of Oz
Songs in the Key of Oz
Property of the Toronto Civic Light Opera Company

Although the passing of James P. Doyle ended the likelihood of any sequels to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, it was not the end of the Toronto Civic Light Opera Company's adventures in that marvelous land. You've already read of the two revivals of the show in 2002 and 2010. Another Oz project cooked up by Joe Cascone was still on the horizon, and one which had its roots in the very origins of his Wonderful Wizard.

One project the Toronto CLO had done in its history was a musical of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, utilizing songs from the many existing musicals of that work including Scrooge by Leslie Bricusse and A Christmas Carol: The Musical by Mike Ockrent, Lynn Ahrens, and Alan Mencken. Joe had wanted to do a similar thing for the the centennial of Baum's book, but better things were to follow with the collaboration with Doyle.

But Joe still loved all the Oz-related music which had gone before, and the idea of a presentation of it still appealed to him. When I asked Joe about the anthology idea, he told me, "Interestingly, David Haines (Wonderful Wizard's one and only Cowardly Lion) and I did just that a couple of years ago. I wrote and we performed a two-man musical revue entitled Songs in the Key of Oz, which represents virtually every musical Oz dramatization-- and even some bogus recordings of the story-- up until that time. We also recorded a live CD of the show. It was a big hit at a couple of Oz conventions, too."

Though your humble History of Oz Examiner has still to hear the CD, I can tell just by the reviews I've heard, some from people who saw them live, that the show is a hugely entertaining and even informative trip through the history not only of staged Oziana, but also of American musical theater and film. There are songs from the Baum - Tietjens musical, both of its sequels, and an unfinished Patchwork Girl of Oz musical, the MGM Wizard, The Wiz, the 1964 cartoon Return to Oz, the animated feature film Journey Back to Oz, Wicked, and of course the Cascone - Doyle Wonderful Wizard.

Someday soon I hope to deliver a review of the CD to you.