My new book, Oz and the Musical: Performing the American Fairy Tale considers the special relationship between Oz and Musicals in the US. Drawing on my experiences as a fan, scholar, and practitioner I argue that musical adaptations of The Wizard of Oz make the "American fairy tale" available as participatory culture. In return, Oz contributes to the musical's pedigree as an America art form. Along the way, I discuss L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), the popular Broadway adaptation of 1903, the famous MGM film, the stage and screen versions of The Wiz (1975 and 1978), and Wicked (2003). The book concludes with a chapter on home, school, and community musical performances of Oz. Central to these adaptive performances are the contributions of diverse American producers, performers, and audiences, including kids, immigrants, Black people, and queer people, who have expanded and transformed the American fairy tale through song, dance, and the gestures of musical theater.
Friday, September 2, 2022
The cover image is from photographer Carol Highsmith's America, which is curated by the Library of Congress. These ruby-slippered feet belong to Ashley Harkins, who plays Dorothy at the Land of Oz park in Beech Mountain, North Carolina.
Oz and the Musical is available for at Oxford University Press, or wherever you buy books.
Friday, February 25, 2022
First posted on October 11, 2018.
"Mary Had a Little Lamb" is one of the first songs many English-speaking kids learn. The canonicity of the nursery rhyme is suggested by Thomas Edison's recitation of it on his first phonograph recording in 1877. It's the first "real" song many of us learned to play in music lessons.
The poem was published by Sarah Josepha Hale as part of a collection of children's verses in 1830. She had been encouraged to produce this volume by Lowell Mason, who led the founding of school music education in the United States. He was in search of material he could set to music for instruction, and he included "Mary's Lamb" in his Juvenile Lyre, Or, Hymns and Songs, Religious, Moral, and Cheerful, Set to Appropriate Music, For the Use of Primary and Common Schools. This songbook was used in Boston public schools and was probably the first such collection in the United States. Hale's verse is reportedly based on the true story of Massachusetts girl Mary Sawyer, who took her lamb to school and in whose honor the city of Sterling Massachusetts has erected a statue.
|"Mary's Lamb," with music by Lowell Mason from the Juvenile Lyre, 1831,|
Boston Literary History
Pound, Gomer. "Mason's Hand in "Mary's Lamb"." The Bulletin of Historical Research in Music Education 7, no. 1 (1986): 23-27. http://www.jstor.org.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/stable/40214696.
Richards Free Library