Saturday, August 28, 2010
The Wiz and Me
I had just seen the film version starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson a month and a half earlier when it had opened in December 1978. I had liked the film version well enough and was playing the double-LP soundtrack album a lot at home. After seeing the film I started playing the original Broadway cast album a lot, too. And I was now eager to see the stage show which was coming to town to play at Popejoy Hall on the University of New Mexico campus. This is where all the big touring shows and concerts played.
I bought two tickets to the show. I was going to see the matinee by myself, and my mom, sister, and I were going to see the evening performance that night. Somehow I felt a deep connection to the show - even though I had yet to see it
This was the first Broadway tour I'd ever seen and the magic and intensity of the performance were incredible. The brilliance of Geoffrey Holder's making the Tornado a human dancer, the faithfulness to Baum's story, the fact that Dorothy was such a believable little girl . . . well it all uhm . . . utterly blew me away!
You can read a bit about her here.
I loved the second performance just as much. I had really never seen "magic" happen on stage before. I don't mean tricks, smoke, and flying monkeys; I mean the stage disappeared and I was sucked into the show. Like when reading an Oz book and the words fade away and you're just absorbing the adventure. It was so wonderful and magical that I knew I had to be a part of it and try to make that happen for other people.
So I decided I must work in the theatre, and eventually I did. And that is why seeing a touring production of The Wiz was so influential to me.