Synopsis

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Prologue

   Dorothy, who lives with her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em on a farm on the bleak Kansas prairies, has spent the afternoon daydreaming and playing with her dog, Toto. Aunt Em reprimands the girl for not helping out with the chores, especially when a great storm is expected to sweep across the farm at any time. Softening when she sees how hurt Dorothy is, Aunt Em hugs Dorothy closely and expresses her love (The Feeling We Once Had). The storm has developed into a twister that hits the farm with a fury, ripping the porch from the house and taking Dorothy with it (Tornado Ballet).

   Act I

   The porch spins and flies through the clouds, coming to rest with a great crash in a strange and beautiful country. There she is met by the Munchkins who dress all in blue, and Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North who tells Dorothy that her porch has fallen on the Wicked Witch of the East and killed her, freeing the Munchkins from her powers. Dorothy, distressed and confused, wants only to return to Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and Toto back in Kansas, and Addaperle decides her best bet is to go and see the great and powerful Wizard of Oz (He's the Wizard). Addaperle gives Dorothy the silver shoes that belonged to the Witch of the East, and tell her not to take them off before she reaches home, for they hold a very powerful charm.

   As Dorothy sets down the Road of Yellow Brick, full of doubt and fear at what lies ahead (Soon As I Get Home). Stopping to rest by a cornfield, she is startled when a Scarecrow hanging on a pole strikes up a conversation with her (I Was Born the Day Before Yesterday). He tells her of his longing for brains so that he can be like other people, and she invites him to accompany her to see if Oz can help him (Ease On Down the Road).

   The Road of Yellow Bricks lead them into a great forest where they discover a man made of tin, rusted solid. They oil his joints (Slide Some Oil To Me) and he tells them how, to prevent his marrying the servant girl, the Wicked Witch of the East put a spell on his ax so that it began to cut off parts of his body. Each time it happened, a tinsmith replaced the missing part with metal until the woodchopper was entirely made of tin. The one item the tinsmith left out was a heart, and the Tinman has longed for one ever since. Dorothy and the Scarecrow invite him on their journey to see the Wiz with the hope that he may give the woodchopper a heart.

   The Road of Yellow Brick leads them into a dark jungle where they are attacked by a large lion ((I'm a) Mean Ole Lion), but are unharmed because the Lion is a coward. When he learns where they are going, the Lion asks them if he may accompany them to ask the Wiz for courage. They agree and the trio becomes a quartet, but face a new danger as they are attacked by great creatures - half tiger, half bear (Kalidah Battle). After a great fight, and a harrowing escape, they stop by the road to rest. The Lion is embarrassed by his cowardice in the battle, but is comforted by Dorothy's kind words (Be a Lion).

   Seeing a green glow in the distance, they continue their journey to Emerald City, and wander into a group of Poppies who blow opium dust on them. Not being made of flesh, Tinman and Scarecrow are unaffected, but Dorothy and Lion begin to become disorientated and drowsy. Dorothy recalls that the Munchkins warned her of the dangerous Poppies, and runs from the field as fast as she can with the Scarecrow and Tinman behind her. The Lion is overcome by the dust and begins to hallucinate (Lion's Dream). he is dragged from the field and returned to his friends by the Field Mice who police the area.

   Marching up to the gates of the beautiful city, they are met by the Gatekeeper who insists they must all be fitted with a pair of green tinted glasses that are locked on to prevent their eyes from being blinded by the dazzling sights. They enter the city and look about in awe at the richly dressed people that inhabit this magnificent place (Emerald City Ballet). The haughty and condescending people laugh and ridicule this odd party for wanting to see the Wiz until they spot the Witch of the East's silver shoes Dorothy wears. The foursome are shown right in.

   Once in the throne room, they are assaulted by a great show of lights, smoke, and pyrotechnics as the Wiz appears in several forms before them (So You Wanted To Meet the Wizard). They each plead their case to the smug magician, and the Tinman imagines how life would be with a heart (What Would I Do If I Could Feel?). The Wiz agrees on one condition - they must kill the Wicked Witch of the West. Dorothy and her companions sink to the floor in tears as their goals seem farther off than ever.

   Act II

   The Witch who rules over the yellow land to the west, enslaving its people - the Winkies. She is an evil, power hungry woman who will stop at nothing to get what she wants (Winkie Chant / Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News). Seeing Dorothy and her odd friends approach, she sends her flying monkeys to kill them (Funky Monkeys). They dash the Tinman against rocks until he can no longer move, and rip the stuffing from the Scarecrow also leaving him helpless. Seeing the silver shoes on Dorothy, they dare not harm her, instead carrying her and the Lion to the castle. While searching for a way to get the powerful shoes from the little girl, the witch forces the Lion and Dorothy to work doing menial chores. After taking delight in torturing the Lion before Dorothy, the Witch is melted as the angry little girl throws a bucket of water on her. The spell on the Winkies is lifted, and they show their thanks by restoring the Tinman and Scarecrow to top condition, and reuniting the four friends (Everybody Rejoice).

   Returning to the Emerald City, they find the Wiz (now a booming voice that seems to come from the very air). The Wiz reneges on his promise, and the Lion knocks over a screen in anger. behind the screen stands a bewildered man who claims to be the real Wiz (Who Do You Think You Are?). He shows them the elaborate mechanical effects used to create his illusions, and tells them he is really a humbug from Omaha who traveled to Oz by accident when his hot air balloon drifted off course. The people of Oz had never seen such a sight and proclaimed him Wizard. Not wanted to disappoint them, he assumed the role, and had a great city built. He then had everyone in the city wear green glasses, and in time, the people came to believe the city was made of emeralds.

   The angry foursome confront the Wiz on his deceptions, who points out that the Scarecrow, Tinman, and Lion all have the qualities they seek as shown in their behavior on the journeys they have made (Believe In Yourself). They remain unconvinced so he creates physical symbols of their desires and they are satisfied. He proposes that Dorothy return to Kansas the way he came, and offers to pilot her in a hot air balloon. He addresses the Citizens of the Emerald City in person for the first time in many years, telling him of his imminent journey, and leaving the clever Scarecrow in charge (Y'all Got It!). Just as his speech reaches its climax, the balloon comes free from its moorings and rises quickly into the air, taking Dorothy's hopes of getting home with it.

   There is a flash of light and Addaperle appears, suggesting Dorothy ask Glinda, the Good Witch of the South for help. She transports them to Glinda's palace in the red Quadling country to the south(A Rested Body Is a Rested Mind). Glinda is beautiful and gracious sorceress, surrounded by a court of pretty girls. She tells Dorothy that the silver shoes have always had the power to take her home, but like her friends, Dorothy needed to believe that fact before it was possible (If You Believe). Dorothy bids a tearful goodbye to her companions, and as their faces fade into the darkness, she thinks about what she has learned, what she has gained, and what she has lost (Home). She taps the heels of the silver shoes together three times, and as Toto jumps into her arms. licking her face, she knows she is at last back home.



- Kevin McDonald (rzimmer@sympatico.ca)



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