Monday, June 17, 2024

Making Believe: The Wizard of Oz and the American Musical

When Dorothy and her friends discover that the Wizard is a humbug showman, he admits, "I have been making believe."

"Making believe" is, I argue, what makes The Wonderful Wizard of Oz an American fairy tale and why the genre of the musical has been popular for adapting the story. I like this concept of make-believe because it combines interior imagining with the idea of actively making or doing something--or to put it another way, performing. Participating in American musical theater is a great act of make-believe in which people perform their American identities. How appropriate, then, that the story known as "the American fairy tale" and the genre of the musical have such a close relationship, from the first Oz musical extravaganza to MGM's The Wizard of Oz, The Wiz, Wicked, and backyards and school theaters across the USA.

Read more about the Wizard, make-believe, and how The Wizard of Oz exemplifies the American musical in Oz and the Musical: Performing the American Fairy Tale.

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