The Wonderful Finale of Oz
Here it is. The last posting from that all-star Wizard of Oz concert at Lincoln Center in 1995. (At least as far as I know...) As they say, all good things come to an end.
But this a really good finale. It includes everyone in this great cast. Everyone. And they each get a solo moment to sing.
Just to refresh your memory, that "everyone" is -- Jewel, Jackson Browne, Roger Daltrey, Joel Grey, Natalie Cole, Lucie Arnaz, Phoebe Snowe, Ronnie Spector, and Dr. John. (Debra Winger is there, but she doesn't have a singing role.) And a solo from David Sanborn on the saxophone. The Boys Choir of Harlme is there, too, and guitarist Ry Cooder, though they don't get solos.
That is one fine finale. And together, they all sing the song, "Some..." oh, you know.
As I've mentioned, one thing I always get a kick out of are the bizarre comments that often get left by users on YouTube. My favorite here is one from someone who wrote --
“OMG The guy who plays the Wizard played in Buffy the Vampire Slayer!! He is the guy who Dawn went to with Spike to try and resurrect her mom!!!”
OMG, indeed! That "guy" is, of course, Joel Grey. Who's won a Tony Award, an Oscar, and also starred in the massive (and current) hit musical, Wicked, as -- once again -- The Wizard. Among countless other credits in a long and distinguished career. So, the fact that he also played the guy who Dawn went with on Buffy the Vampire Slayer is impressive indeed...
(Hey, at least the person didn't write, "OMG, that's the guy who's the father of the girl in Dirty Dancing who was in the audience when she was on Dancing with the Stars!!!")
By the way, there's some odd editing here. I get the sense that this concert was performed twice, and the best of those were edited together for the final production.
A few random observations about some things in the finale.
I love that after Phoebe Snowe finishes her solo, she beams, almost like a little kid. That's sort of the whole attitude of this entire finale -- in fact, the entire show. I get the sense that everyone there is there, not just for the job, but out of affection for being in such a special production of The Wizard of Oz, harkening back to their childhoods. Affection just fills the auditorium during the finale.
In that regard, I think it's notable (and joyful) to keep an eye out for how pretty much everyone in the cast for the curtain call all applaud one another, right along with the audience. These are huge stars, yet they seem to have had such a great time and appreciate being there -- and with all those other big stars -- as they keep applauding the others.
The applause for all these huge stars are strong throughout, but if you listen closely, the biggest applause is for the only person there who not only wasn't a big star, but was completely unknown, Jewel. In fairness, she has the starring role, but that this unknown, 21-year-old girl held her own on that auspicious stage with those names is impressive.
Equally fun is not only hearing the rapturous applause throughout, but watching the utterly-joyful faces of the audience when the camera finally cuts to the crowd.
And notice too how when the cast walks offstage, the first person to turn and acknowledge the Boys Choir of Harlem and applaud them when he passes is -- Roger Daltrey. (That should bring a smile to Shelly Goldstein). Only after he passes do others in the cast follow his lead and applaud them in turn.
Okay, enough with that. On to the end of the show. The finale and curtain call has arrived. With everyone.
And why this was never re-aired on TBS or released on DVD i beyond me. Why, then, or why has it not?
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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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