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Wizard of Oz touring 8 Chinese cities

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2019-06-22 09:15

The Wizard of Oz is being staged at Tianqiao Performing Arts Center in Beijing until June 30, before moving to Shanghai, Xiamen and Quanzhou. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A lion without courage, a tin man without a heart and a scarecrow without a brain, along with these friends, Dorothy, an innocent farm girl from Kansas, who is swept away to a magical land in a tornado, embarks on an adventure to return home.

It's the classic story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, an American children's novel written by author L. Frank Baum and published in 1900.

Under the title of The Wizard of Oz, the story was adapted into a popular 1902 Broadway musical as well as the iconic 1939 musical film adaptation, which saw actress Judy Garland as Dorothy.

One of the songs in the musical, Over the Rainbow, which was composed by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Yip Harburg and was sung by Garland, won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1940 and became Garland's signature song.

Now, a musical, The Wizard of Oz, is touring eight Chinese cities.

It started from Foshan, in Guangdong province, on May 6. And now, it is being staged at Tianqiao Performing Arts Center in Beijing until June 30, before moving to Shanghai, Xiamen and Quanzhou.

The musical, which premiered in London in 1987, features a score by composers Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, and is directed by Dean Sobon with choreography by Amy Marie McCleary.

Speaking about the show, Marc Ciemiewicz, the company manager, says: "The musical is a spectacular celebration of the classic 1939 musical film. And audiences of all ages will be dazzled by the brightly colored sets, be charmed by its timeless score and be enthralled with its breathtaking special effects."

He adds that despite the fact that the music is based on the film from 1939, what makes this production unique is that it features a song, titled Jitterbug, which was written for the film but was cut from it.

The song is performed by Dorothy, together with the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion.

Speaking about her role, Sara Cammarata, who plays Dorothy in the musical, says: "The songs from the 1939 movie are so popular that I could sing the songs from a very young age.

"Judy Garland's performance is iconic. And since I have been playing teenager roles in my acting career for a long time, I am trying to create a Dorothy of my own personality."

As for Nick Gurinsky, who plays the role of tin man, he says: "For children, it's a fun and colorful show. It's a lovely piece of art that introduces children to theater.

"And one of the beautiful things about The Wizard of Oz is that it's a timeless story and can be enjoyed by people of different generations. For adults, it's about finding yourself and never losing your way home."

Toto, Dorothy's dog in the musical, is played by a cairn terrier who was trained by a Chinese dog trainer.

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