The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz

Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz

Something I’m actually a fan of is the House Theatre — I’ve been impressed by all the shows I’ve seen and their collective energy and commitment is astonishing. So this year Erica and I became season ticker holders.

On Saturday night we went to opening night of The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz — a new play by Phillip Klapperich, who also wrote the House’s big hit The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan (check the comments here for other House members’ suggestions of “Terrible” titles for future Klapperich projects — “The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day of Alexander” is a personal favorite.)

The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz is not a complete reinterpretation of Baum’s story (as in say, Wicked or Wicked) but is an adult look at the tale.

I had some issues with the show in the first act — I found myself wondering if “the curtains open and a rock band comes out” was moving from a House technique to a House cliche, and, um, Try a Little Tenderness just made me do a little WTF in my head. But by the end of the second act all was forgiven and… well, I was too choked up to notice any problems. And Molly Brennan is the Wicked Witch of the West, which, for me, gives you 50 bonus points right there. If I were giving the play points. Which I’m not.

Chris Jones’ review for the Tribune is out now, if you’d like to read the opinion of someone who gets paid to think about theatre. Which I do not.

7 Comments so far

  1. morgen (unregistered) on September 21st, 2005 @ 6:50 am

    I saw Wicked a few weeks ago and I agree that the first act wasn’t that great. From there, I think it just turned to the worst crap of all time. It got boring and trite, the acting wasn’t very good (except for the blond girl…the good witch girl…she was good. She’s going to be in a Budweiser commercial too, so that proves it), I didn’t remember a single song, and all the jokes they had were at the expense of the film. That disappointed me, since all the interest in Wicked is beacause of the film…why would you shit on it?

  2. Alana (unregistered) on September 21st, 2005 @ 10:03 am

    Hey Fuzzy-

    Where did the art come from for this piece? Just curious. It looks a lot like this guy’s stuff:

  3. Fuzzy (unregistered) on September 21st, 2005 @ 10:35 am

    Morgen, I’m talking about a different play than Wicked — this is The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz. I’ve read Wicked (the book), but never seen Wicked (the musical).

    Alana, that’s the House Theatre’s promo art for the show. I don’t know who did their graphic design.

  4. morgen (unregistered) on September 21st, 2005 @ 12:37 pm

    That’s cool. Really, I just wanted to say it really sucked (the musical). I haven’t read the book, though I hear it’s very good. Don’t go see that crap play though.

  5. Fuzzy (unregistered) on September 21st, 2005 @ 12:46 pm

    Wicked (the book) is very good. Do go see the good play, The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz, at the House Theatre. (I’m beginning to regret ever bringing up Wicked).

  6. Molly B (unregistered) on September 21st, 2005 @ 3:36 pm

    50 points? Holy crap! That’s real nice of you. Thanks for the comments on the show, we’re having a HELL of a good time up there. I read “Wicked”. It’s a great novel! So dirty and political! Delicious! The graphics guy, by the way, is Mr. Chris Burnham. You can see all of his talent at

  7. Chris Burnham (unregistered) on September 23rd, 2005 @ 12:24 pm

    Chris Burnham here.

    I’d MUCH rather you check out all of my artwork at my brand spanking new website,

    Glad the bloody slippers icon is generating some interest!

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