Original Broadway Production (1975)


Still More Characters

Rex Reed
New York Daily News Here we have a rock-and-roll Dorothy in rhinestone earrings, complete with lipstick, rouge and bosoms; gay Munchkns babbling away about panty hose; a scarecrow who looks like Diana Ross with false eyelashes; a tin man made of Budweiser cans; a cowardly lion in a blond Afro who gets stoned on poppy dust; gatekeeper to the Emerald City who says "There goes the neighborhood!", a 300 pound wicked witch who rules an empire of winged monkeys in jockstrap bikinis; an effeminate wizard of Oz dressed like a Times Square pimp who gives the lion a Jack Daniels bottle ñ but need I go on?

This is a musical for drug freaks creating a mythology inhabited by androgynous monsters, celebrating not the wonder of childhood fantasy, but tha profane vulgarity of cruelty and ugliness.

The score is so forgettable it's barely even noticeable, the performances, paroxysm of frenzied animation turning into schizophrenia, the direction by Geoffrey Holder is a vortex of psychic disaster.

The key to making it on Broadway these days seems to depend on just how demented you are. Mind-bending depravities like All Over Town and The Wiz are enough to make you cease caring whether the theater lives of dies. One might just as well get worked up over striped toothpaste.