Thursday, March 3, 2016

Was: The Musical

From Paul Simpson’s A Brief Guide to OZ :

Was has been brought to the stage in two different versions. Paul Edwards penned a version for Northwestern university in 1994, which he intitially intended as a staged reading of various chapters. As he worked on it, he realize the potential for a small chamber-theatre piece, which was subsequently put on, directed by Edwards himself, in Chicago. Given that many authors complain about the liberties that are taken with their text in adaptations for other media, Ryman found that this version was too faithful to his story. In a 2001 interview, with the British Science Fiction Association, he explained that it ‘was very educational because it was terrible’ — not because of the acting, but because they tried to jam four hundred pages of text into two hours on stage. He wouldn’t allow further productions, despite the Chicago Reader calling Edwards’ interprestation ‘a jewel on the stage as on the page, a beautifully blanaced work of brain, courage, and heart’.

A musical version, with a book by Barry Kleinbort and score by Joseph Thalken, was workshopped at the Lincoln Center Theater in New York, and subsequently mounted at the Human Race Theatre Company in Dayton, Ohio; and then by Northwestern University’s American Music Theatre Project in 2005. This eliminated the Judy Garland plotline from the book entirely. Kleinbort and Thalken had both been taken with the book, and wrote twenty minutes of material that they performed for Ryman in 1998. He gave them permission to proceed, and the show received various awards for excellence in music theatre.

There must be snippets on YouTube or somewhere (over the rainbow?) but I can't find them. Help!

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