Hoping to capitalize on the success of the stage version of The Wizard of Oz, and also to promote his 1904 book, The Marvelous Land of Oz (which, as has been told already, had been dedicated to Stone and Montgomery), L. Frank Baum added to the roster of fantasy musicals in 1905 with The Woggle-Bug.
Though based on Marvelous Land, The Woggle-Bug did not feature the Scarecrow or the Tin Woodman, who were of course present in the book. Several other changes were made, but critics and audiences alike found the show, scripted by Baum and scored by Frederic Chapin, highly derivative of the stage version of Wizard.
The dynamic of the team of the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman was copied rather too obviously by the title character and Jack Pumpkinhead, and the ubiquitous chorus girls in one scene formed a phalanx of chrysanthemums instead of poppies. Indeed, a reading of Marvelous Land makes it clear that Baum was thinking in terms of a stage show even as he wrote it, reflected in various bits of clowning, clever dialogue, and no less than two armies of girls, one formed by General Jinjur and the other working for Glinda the Good.
Sadly, what worked in print did not work on the stage, and The Woggle-Bug closed barely a month after it had opened. Nothing daunted, Baum had another try at putting an Oz story on stage. The year was 1913, when The Wizard of Oz was being performed by stock companies and fantasy plays were still popular. This may have contributed to a more receptive attitude to Baum’s third Oz stage play, The Tik-Tok Man of Oz.
Baum, by now settled at Ozcot in California, had actually begun writing this one in 1907, the year Ozma of Oz, its main inspiration, had been published. Over the ensuing years, he added scenes and characters inspired by his books Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, and The Road to Oz.
The romantic couple of Private Jo Files and Queen Ann Soforth appeared, played respectively by acting notables Charlie Ruggles and Charlotte Greenwood (the third of three actresses to play the part).
The title automaton was played by James C. Morton, with Frank Moore as the Shaggy Man, Lenora Novello as Betsy Bobbin, Dolly Castles as Polychrome, and Fred Woodward as Frank the Mule. Other characters, played by multiple performers, were Princess Ozma and Ruggedo the Nome King.
Again there was an echo of the Scarecrow – Tin Woodman duo in the characters of Tik-Tok and the Shaggy Man, but The Tik-Tok Man of Oz was more successful than, and less redolent of, Wizard than The Woggle-Bug had been, and with a score by the renowned composer Louis F. Gottschalk, it did very well in Los Angeles and on the road, going as far as Chicago.
That was Baum’s last foray into the Oz-based musical extravaganza, but other stage adaptations of his work began to show up in years to come.