This past weekend was my birthday and my birthday present from my husband was tickets to the local production of The Wizard of Oz. A former college student of mine was playing the Lion and according to his Facebook status it was an amazing show. I also heard a few colleagues mention the fabulousness of this show as well. Last weekend was the final weekend of the show and we didn't order tickets until Wednesday. God had reserved two tickets for us sitting together on the night that I wanted. I think it was the last 2 seats together. From that alone, I knew it was going to be an amazing show.
Saturday morning rolled around and I was antsy all day. Drew took me shopping for jeans as the other part of my birthday present. A quick side note on that, Target was a major disappointment, but Old Navy was wonderful. Even while I was shopping, I was really thinking about the show. I thought about the clothes I was going to wear. I thought about what time we should leave and what time we should drop Ben off with the sitter. I thought about what the scenery might look like and what the costumes might look like. Pictures had been posted online, but I didn't go see them because I didn't want to ruin the surprise.
Ben didn't nap which is always fun, so I didn't get time to take a shower during the day. However my fabulous husband watched him and played with him, so I could get ready. I took a shower, fixed my hair, put on make-up, and got dressed. I don't remember what I wore, but I know I got to wear my really amazing brown checkered heels. (Yes I realize it was just last Saturday and I should remember what I wore, but I don't.) As every woman knows a good pair of heels makes you feel like you are on top of the world. So we drove up to Newton and drove around the block once or twice looking for a parking spot. We found one in an empty doctor's office lot across the street. We walked up to the playhouse and I felt like a million dollars! I had my cute shoes on with a cute outfit and a handsome husband going to a fabulous performance. It really doesn't get better than that.
We entered the playhouse and I soaked in the experience of a theater crowd. Thankfully, this was a local play and it was not pretentious at all! There were many children who were attending the performance. Everyone was genuinely excited to be there and anticipating the performance. Drew and I took a program and sat down. The theater is an old post office that has been refurbished and it looks amazing. On the outside it looks like a post office, on the inside it is totally a playhouse. We took our seats which were on the far left and toward the back. Not the best seats in the house, but honestly there are no bad seats in this place. We perused the program and listened to a few conversations around us. I probably tried to talk to Drew, but he doesn't really like discussing stuff in public. I think it is probably because I'm rather opinionated and loud, so not talking is better. We waited what seemed like an eternity, but I think it was only 25 minutes, and the play finally began.
The play was amazing! It was incredible! It was enchanting! There really aren't enough words to express the fabulousness of this performance. The cast was amazing. The directing was top notch. The orchestra was incredible. This play honestly rivaled the movie in quality. Every essential line was in there. Every essential song was there. They had a crystal ball and the Wizard's screen just like in the movie. So while I was singing along with the songs and quoting the lines with them (not out loud, just to myself.), I got to thinking about a book I am reading. In Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, Madline L'Engle puts forth the hypothesis that good art is good religion and bad art is bad religion. Since God created everything, then all creativity comes from him. Those that use it well are doing so through the talent and inspiration that He gave them whether they acknowledge it or not. I love this concept! There are so many works of art that I admire, but not so much the artist. As a Christian, I have often felt guilty for liking art that isn't specifically 'Christian' art. Now I find out that I don't need to feel guilty because good art is really a reflection of the creativity that was given by God to a human.
How does this relate to The Wizard of Oz? The movie and this play were wonderful and wildly successful. The movie Return to Oz and the books not so successful. I know they have their fans and that is totally fine to be a fan of those instead of the movie. Or even to be a fan of both the movie and the books. However, I think it is safe to say that the average person prefers the 1939 version and by extension this performance to any of the other versions out there. I think this is a reflection of the attitude of the creators. L. Frank Baum preferred to live his life morally, but without God. I think it reflects in his books and the non-lasting quality of them. (Side note: Many believe the books were more of a political allegory than children's novel anyway. That makes a lot of sense to me.) I have read the book once and I found it confusing and dark. It wasn't what I expected and I have to say that it was one occasion when I preferred the movie to the book. Whomever created the movie must have been more open to God than L. Frank Baum. The proof of this is the lasting quality and passionate love of the movie. People still love this movie and it still speaks to children today. This movie about friendship, finding home, and the triumph of good over evil has found a place in the hearts and minds of Americans. So thank you to those who created the movie and thank you to those who created this production. You have made this Oz fan very happy!
One more side note, the Scarecrow, Tinsman, and Cowardly Lion were totally amazing!! Of course, I thought the Lion was amazing! The Tinsman has always been a quiet, but powerful character in my estimation and this Tinsman was no exception. The Scarecrow has always been a more physical and flamboyant role. This Scarecrow was no exception. These three men are now my new favorite actors in a totally non-stalkerish kind of way. I can't wait to see what they do next! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to everyone in this production for making my birthday weekend amazing!