Here is another rare piece of Wizard of Oz ephemera–an original Playbill (program) from the Wizard of Oz musical play. L. Frank Baum was a theatre aficionado and wrote the play after the great success of his book in 1900. Composer Paul Tietjens wrote much of the music. Heavily modified from Baum’s original work, the play premiered at the Grand Opera House in Chicago. Very successful, by 1903, it had moved to the Majestic Theatre on Broadway. This program is from the Majestic the week of August 3rd, 1903.
20 pages, ~8″ by 10″ in size. There are 4 pages with Wizard of Oz program information plus one small clothing advertisement related to it; the rest has ads of the period or theatre information including one Wizard of Oz related ad. 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 this particular time (these were changed periodically throughout the long run and touring of the play). It even lists every chorus actor in every scene–for example, the “Poppy Flowers” and the “Borderland”. W W Denslow is still credited under costumes (along with “Mrs Edward (Caroline) Siedle”) although he was estranged from Baum early on. 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 also due to vaudeville comics Fred Stone and Dave Montgomery as the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman. Also worthy of note were director Julian Mitchell and that producer and business manager Fred Hamlin listed in prior programs has been replaced by Townsend Walsh.
The fragile acidic paper cover has some chipping and staining at edges, but the central graphic is in good condition. The internal pages are still attached to the staples and are in good condition, but with a few stains and fold marks at corners and down center. Complete and legible. A rare survivor!