Act I (Scenes 1 and 2)
In this episode, we will reflect on the first two scenes of act 1, where new characters are introduced and the original story is adapted. There are very few images that are accessible online but in the book, Oz: Before the Rainbow, you will see tons of images from the Broadway production. The images in the book practically bring the stage adaptation to life. It also includes back stories to the pre-1939 Wizard of Oz.
So, right out the gate, we discover that the Kansas scene has absolutely no dialogue but it does have reactions and special effects. This had to be the smallest scene I have ever read in my life. It was shocking that nothing really happens in this scene except for the cyclone. Be sure to check out my Krafts of Oz (by Ken) page. I have detailed out a Kansas cyclone and how I made one.
Scene 2 opens up in Munchkin Country and this is the first time we actually get to experience this story from the perspective of the Munchkins before Dorothy lands in Oz. In Wicked, we got to experience the story from Elphaba’s perspective but never before from the Munchkins. It was quite refreshing to read all that happens before Dorothy actually lands and as she lands. Furthermore, we quickly discover new characters that have been introduced.
- Reuben, a Munchkin citizen
- Cynthia Cynch, a lady lunatic (supposedly the foundation of Nimee Aimee) and love interest of Niccolo Chopper.
- Niccolo Chopper, another name for the Tin Man, who also goes by Nic Chopper
After all is said and introduced, we also experience Locusta (or Locosta) the Good Witch of the North. This play gave way more insight into the Good Witch of the North than I had ever experienced. Later in Scene 4, she calls upon King Frost and towards the end of Act 3, she calls upon Glinda. She has way more power in this story than any story told before, which is awesome. Furthermore, the Witch of the East is mentioned as having the house fall upon her and the Witch of the West in nowhere to be found. Now, all these revamps are due to the theatre manager of the time, Julian Mitchell, who wanted a more involved and theatre-friendly performance. Even if you have a hard time with this story, it gives yet another perspective of the Wizard of Oz that we have never seen before.
Now, keep in mind, we still have yet to see Dorothy in the picture and she won’t appear until way later in the play. But, first, we get to see the first, official song (outside of the opening song) of the play called “Niccolo’s Piccolo”. To hear the song, click here. I think listening to the song brings the play alive to me. Pair that with the sets from the Swartz book, its like we’re actually seeing it in its true form.
The next new character introduced is Sir Dashemoff Daily, who is the local Poet Laureate of Oz. That would make such a great story if one was ever created, but the story in the play is quite interesting as well. Turns out, Dash as he is called, is in love with Dorothy, but think her name is Caroline Barry. Caroline Barry is the name of the owner of Dorothy’s home and maid of the house. I wonder if this is supposed to the version of Aunt Em. It is quite interesting. I remember feeling this way when I was introduced to the characters of Wicked and wondering, “Who the heck is Madame Morrible?” It was pretty funny. Now, back to Dash. When looking at the legacy of Oz and all that is available, the only newspaper story that I have ever heard of in Oz is called The Ozmapolitan of Oz, which is a newspaper that Dorothy contributes. Check it out!
Also, there is the website the Daily Ozmapolitan, which details out Oz-related news in our world. Its quite interesting. Now, in the play, Dash brings news that King Pastoria is back in Oz, a character that is truly not discussed or represented that much in Oz media. He has very few images in the books and in media. One of the most noted images is in the tv show, Emerald City, where we did see King Pastoria murdered by the Lion. Check it out here. The blurry image below is a dream image from the show, Emerald City. Also, his name in the show was King Samuel Pastoria.
In the play, he does not have a first name, but it is discovered he has a different kind of love: Trixie Tryffel, a waitress from Topeka. She actually calls him “Pasty” sometimes as a cute, lovers name. But, what makes Pastoria’s story even more interesting is we get to find out what actually happened to him after the Wizard of Oz tricked him out of Oz. Apparently, he worked as a street car conductor (called a “motorman”) and he met Trixie at a gas station diner. He was swept into the path of the tornado that hit Dorothy’s house and landed in Oz as she did. He also brought Trixie with him and two new characters are introduced: Brigadier General Riskitt. The symbol worn by a brigadier general is shown below:
The second is Timothy, Pastoria’s one-man army, who chants with Pastoria and Riskitt the battle hymn that they made up:
“When we were children, we cried for Pastoria,
When we were young, we sighed for Pastoria,
When we grew up, we died for Pastoria.
Oria, oria, peerless Pastoria.”
So, we have all these new characters and all these new pieces to the puzzle from the original story that are making ever. The next song in the musical is called “In Michigan”, lyrics in the play, describe Pastoria’s favorite state. But, the question arises, when did he go to Michigan if he was in Kansas? An untold story…ooh, the possibilities. Check out the map below to see how far these two states are from each other.
Now, the next character to be introduced (and Dorothy is still not in the picture) is Trixie Tryffel, discovered to be the newly engaged fiancee to King Pastoria, who is now King Pastoria II, as stated on the crown he carries in a hat box. As Pastoria and Trixie tell their story to Cynthia and others, they walk off into the distance to continue the sale of tickets for his self-created coronation.
Now, finally, DOROTHY comes into the picture but she too has someone new with her. Instead of her dog, Toto, she now has a cow Imogen. As Dorothy’s story unfolds, we discover that instead of the silver shoes that she gets from the Witch of the North; in the play, she gets a ring that grants her 3 wishes — wishes that she accidentally uses along the way. (Side note: In the script, it says two, but she uses 3.) We also discover that Dorothy can’t use the ring outside of Oz and the ring’s magic is only good inside of Oz. So, she has a kiss and a magic ring. That’s quite a fun twist. I wonder what the ring would look like — creative art moment!!
The next big song we are introduced in the story is called “Carrie Barry” and Dorothy accidentally wishes to know the song, which is written by Sir Dashemoff Daily, as seen above. You can listen to the song here through Hunger Tiger Tunes.
As the scene comes to the end, we meet one final character, The Scarecrow. Dorothy accidentally makes her second wish that the Scarecrow could talk. What is interesting is that in all the other versions, he was able to talk on his own through the magic of Oz, but in this play, Dorothy had to wish for it. She has now used 2 wishes left, what will she wish for next. One aspect that I thought was great about this conversion between Dorothy and the Scarecrow, aside from Imogen trying to eat the Scarecrow, was that he calls her “Dottie”. Now, there is only one other show that I have ever heard Dorothy called that and it was in the TV show, Oz Kids, where she was Dorothy’s daughter called “Dot”. At the end of this scene, we get one more song, which is “Scarecrow’s song”, which can be heard here.
As we leave this scene, we have been introduced to a number of new characters and we see that they have all begun walking down the supposed “yellow brick road” toward the Emerald City. Dorothy needs to get home, Scarecrow needs a brain, Pastoria and Trixie want to claim their titles, Dash needs a rhyme for sarsaparilla, and there is still more drama coming your way. Until next time, when we discover what happens in the final two scenes of Act 1, we’ll be seeing you somewhere over the vinkus.
- Create your own diorama of the first two scenes with all the new characters. Use the Swartz’ book to aid the process.
- Create your own musical version of “In Michigan” from the play as you might imagine it.
- Listen to Scarecrow’s dance from Hungry Tiger Tunes here.
- Feel free to purchase the songs of the musical production at Hungry Tiger Press while you’re there.