Wednesday, November 23, 2022

"Oz and the Musical"

Coming soon from Oxford University Press: Oz and the Musical: Performing the American Fairy Tale by Ryan Bunch.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the first stage production of The Wizard of Oz in 1902, to the classic MGM film (1939), to the musicals The Wiz (1975) and Wicked (2003), L. Frank Baum's children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) has served as the basis for some of the most popular musicals on stage and screen. In this book, musical theater scholar Ryan Bunch draws on his personal experience as an Oz fan to explore how a story that has been hailed as "the American fairy tale" serves as a guide for thinking about the art form of the American musical and how both reveal American identity to be a utopian performance.

Show by show, Bunch highlights the forms and conventions of each musical work as practiced in its time and context-such as the turn-of-the-century extravaganza, the classical Hollywood film musical, the Black Broadway musical of the 1970s, and the twenty-first-century mega-musical. He then shows how the journey of each show teaches participants and audiences something about how to act American within contested frameworks of race, gender, sexuality, age, and embodiment. Bunch also explores home theatricals, make-believe play, school musicals, Oz-themed environments, and community events as sites where the performance of the American fairy tale brings home and utopia into contact through the conventions of the musical. Using close readings of the various Oz shows, personal reflections, and interviews with fans, audiences, and performers, Bunch demonstrates how adapted Oz musicals imply both inclusions and exclusions in the performance of an American utopia.
Visit Ryan Bunch's website.

--Marshal Zeringue