About 20 years ago, I happened to be flipping the channel when I came upon a special on TBS. I wasn't quite sure what how it came about, but it quite awfully well-done. It was a live, staged concert version of The Wizard of Oz done at Lincoln Center. And what a cast. The Scarecrow was played by Jackson Browne, the Tin Man by Roger Daltrey, and the Cowardly Lion was Nathan Lane. Joel Grey played the Wizard. Starring as Dorothy was someone I'd never heard of -- it was this young girl named something like "Jewel." This was right before she'd had her first big hit, and she was terrific.
Actually, the whole production was a joy, and I was never quite sure why TBS didn't air it as an annual special, especially considering that they regularly ran the MGM film each year and made a big deal. I'm not even sure if they even re-ran it once. (If they did, it was incredibly limited, most especially since cable usually re-airs specials about 20 times over the next week.) Maybe they only had the rights to it for one performance. I can't believe that the ratings would have been so horrific that they canceled subsequent airings. Who knows?
It was officially called, The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True, and it was done as a benefit for the Children's Defense Fund. A cast album was released on CD (though I think it's out of print), and it was later released on VHS, but there was never a DVD of the production, I've never seen it again on TV. At the very least, I thought that when Jewel became a huge star, TBS would have put it on again. Or that there'd be a DVD. But as far as I know -- no.
Here though are six minutes from it with all the principles. It mainly features Nathan Lane -- chanelling Bert Lahr,, though you get plenty of Jewel to see what an impressive job she does (and pretty much without a script in hand, like the others). Plus, some of the original introductory lyrics that weren't used in the film.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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