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Adapting The Wizard of OzMusical Versions from Baum to MGM and Beyond$
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Danielle Birkett and Dominic McHugh

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190663179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190663179.001.0001

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The Wizard of Oz and Wicked

The Wizard of Oz and Wicked

Resonances, Legal Issues, and the Appropriation of a Classic

(p.205) 10The Wizard of Oz and Wicked
Adapting The Wizard of Oz

Paul R. Laird

Oxford University Press

This chapter brings new insights to Wicked, the most successful attempt to rework Baum’s story since the 1939 movie. Wicked is the biggest musical hit of the early twenty-first century, but its phenomenal success would never have been possible without its close ties to The Wizard of Oz. Based on Gregory Maguire’s novel by the same name that turns L. Frank Baum’s story on its head, the musical Wicked makes the Wicked Witch of the West a misunderstood young woman doing battle with a wizard who is an interloper from another world that has taken over Oz and made the Talking Animals scapegoats for all of the land’s ills. Despite their new interpretation of the familiar tale, the show’s creators wanted to include as many resonances as possible from the famed MGM film, a crusade that took them into difficult legal waters that resulted in unwelcome changes to the show courtesy of lawyers at Universal Pictures, the show’s principal producer. This chapter is a consideration of how Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman, the writers of Wicked, appropriated narrative and musical aspects of Baum’s original book and the 1939 film, where they ran into problems in doing so, and how some of those problems were solved.

Keywords:   Wicked, stage, musical, Maguire, Schwartz, Holzman

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