Welcome to my first Broadway to Books post of 2017. Wow. That makes me feel like a slacker! It’s already the middle of February. Ah, well. Life. AmIRight?
Today we (The Royal We) are thinking about a little Musical Magic called The Wizard of Oz, which should not be confused with that popular musical based on a Wizard of Oz retelling. See my Broadway to Books post for Wicked (one of my favorites!) here.
Let’s jump right in.
The Wizard of Oz The Musical:
The classic tale of a girl who is swept up in a tornado and dropped with her little nosy terrier, Toto, in the magical land of Oz. There she meets three other straggly characters: a tin man with no heart, a lion with no courage, and a scare crow with no brain. On their quest to meet the Wizard in order to ask for what they want, they discover the meaning of friendship and home. The whole thing ends with some question of whether Dorothy dreamed the whole thing which has probably been debated far and wide, but I don’t actually care!! The musical is a little different from the movie but not much as I recall. There are a couple of versions of the play that get revived often that are actually at least partially based on the movie(s) rather than just the book. The first musical version was was produced in 1902!!
Theme: Exploration of self across dimensions/ time periods
The OBVIOUS – The series of Books. Yaas, Friends. This is a series of 14 books written by L. Frank Baum who related the adventures of the characters from the characters themselves, or that’s how the story goes. I’ve read a few of these and out of order but they are interesting and fun- time fantasy. The characters have their own back stories (like how did that tin man become a tin man? A woman was involved!) that are not offered in the musical, of course. Because the series is in the public domain, this story has been told and told and told and told. I have every intention of reading the series in order so I can be well versed on all the ways that each and every retelling has gotten it wrong.
LESS OBVIOUS: The All Souls Trilogy by by Deborah Harkness
This MASSIVE trilogy is well worth the zillion pages (1724, actually). It’s a historical fantasy about a woman who accidentally calls a lost manuscript out of the stacks in the library and discovers that she is part of a magical line of witches that can travel through time and that the world is full of supernatural beings (e.g., vampires, werewolves, etc). Diana meets famous figures in her travel through history, and having been a historian, is able to understand the importance of what is going on around her. Of course, as member of the World History illiterate, I’m sure I’m missing all kinds of references in this book. However, the writing was great and the story was interesting. At times, the story drags a bit with all the history but then it picks up. This is also a great series for people who liked the Outlander series.
NOT EVEN A LITTLE OBVIOUS: Kindred by Octavia Butler:
I loved this book even as I got pissed about parts of the story. Kindred is part science fiction, part historical fiction/slave narrative (Historical Sci-Fi?). In this novel, Dana lives in California in 1976 and is shuttled back unexpectedly to a pre- Civil War plantation in Maryland. No holds are barred in the different treatment she must endure across time as a slave in one era and a Black woman married to a white man in the other, or in the treatment she endures to survive the increasing trips into the past.