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Get To Oz Before Andrew Lloyd Webber Does

By Julienne Bilker in Arts & Entertainment on May 1, 2009 7:30PM


If you’re a Wizard of Oz fan, you might want to drop by the Chicago Theatre this weekend, where it is running through Sunday. The next time this familiar show visits us, it might not be so familiar. Adding to his Knighthood duties, which include advising American Idol contestants, judging his seventies-tastic British reality show Any Dream Will Do, working on a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera (which we’ve preemptively titled The Phantom Takes Manhattan) and looking exceptionally creepy, Baron Lloyd-Webber (yes, that’s his real title) has decided to fill out his schedule by ruining our childhoods.

According to, Webber “has secured the rights to the famous 1939 film and [L. Frank Baum’s] original story, as well as permission to include new songs alongside the movie’s classic E.Y. Harburg and Harold Arlen numbers.” Collaborating lyricist Glen Slater has hinted that the additional songs will include pieces for the Wizard and "the Witch" (no indication of which witch), as well as a big opening number. Our vision for the latter: substitute "tornado" for "murder" in this piece of theatrical genius (“Murder, Murder” from Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical). Bonus if they cast David Hasselhoff as the Wizard.

The only bit of this project we support is an as-yet unconfirmed rumor: Webber may continue to avoid paying a casting director while profiting off of auditions by choosing Dorothy reality-TV style, with a panel of judges that may include one of our favorite crazypants musical theatre divas (and Judy Garland’s daughter), Liza Minelli. Think Paula Abdul is unstable? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

The Wizard Of Oz, through May 3 at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St. $45-$75 via or call 312.902.1500.