Here is a scarce Wizard of Oz item–an original playbill (program) from the Wizard of Oz musical stageplay at the Grand Opera House in Chicago. L. Frank Baum was a theatre aficionado and wrote the play after the great success of his book in 1900. Heavily modified from Baum’s original work, the play premiered at the Grand on June 16, 1902, played throughout the Midwest, and by 1903, it had moved to Broadway. Composer Paul Tietjens wrote the music.. This program is from the week of Dec 28, 1902. According to “Oz Before the Rainbow”, The Wizard only played 14 weeks at the Grand, then toured in the midwest and came briefly back to Chicago in late Dec 1902 before moving to the Majestic Theatre in New York in Jan 1903. This is from that two-week interval in Chicago.
About 30 pages, ~6.5″ by 6.5″ in size. This is not just a collectible, but an important historical record of every act, actor and scene in the play, as well as every song at the time (these were changed periodically throughout the long run and touring of the play). It even lists the chorus actora in every scene–for example, the “Poppy Flowers” and the “Dreamland Youths”. Very different from the 1939 movie adaptation–in this play, Dorothy has a pet cow, Imogene, instead of Toto! Much of the play’s success was due to vaudeville comics Fred Stone and Dave Montgomery as the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman. Also worthy of note were director Julian Mitchell and producer Fred Hamlin (who is credited as “business manager” on the cover of this program).
There are 5 pages with Wizard of Oz program information; the rest is ads of the period or theatre information. Included is a schedule page mentioning the new engagement at the Majestic, and there is also an ad for “Malt Sinew that will tie you grains and give me a heart” with a photo of Montgomery and Stone. Although Oz book illustrator W W Denslow had originally been involved in costumes and planning for the stageplay, by this time he was estranged from Baum he is not credited in this version of the program. The program is in very good condition, with the centertwo leaves pages detached from the string binding, but present. Light age toning and cover soiling.