Off to see the Wizard at Telluride’s Opera House

Off to see the Wizard at Telluride’s Opera House

Wiz of Oz Telluride's Sheridan Arts Foundation's Young People's Theater begins its 11th season with director Jen Julia's adaptation of the MGM classic (1939) "The Wizard of Oz," one of the most popular musicals of all time.

"Everyone can identify with Dorothy, the bewildered yet brave farm girl, on her journey through Oz," explained Jen.  "What's more, the songs are catchy, and the lyrics, almost tongue twisters, are extremely clever."

The production, performed by 33 students, grades 6, 7, and 8, includes all the usual suspects: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," "If I Only Had a Brain," "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead," "We’re  Off to See the Wizard." But in keeping with the YPT tradition Julia established, the show has some non-traditional elements, including a few songs from the musical, "The Wiz," to spice up the action.

All of the images in "The Wizard of Oz"  (Yellow Brick Road, the Kansas twister),  its characters (Auntie Em, Toto, Dorothy, the Wicked Witch), the dialogue, ("Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!", "We're not in Kansas anymore," "Follow the Yellow Brick Road," or the film's final line: "There's no place like home"), and, of course, the music ("Over the Rainbow," etc.) over time became indelibly etched into pop culture.

Imitation being one of the highest forms of praise, the film itself has been honored with dozens of books, TV shows (HBO's dramatic prison series "Oz"), references in other films, and pop songs (Elton John's Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road album and Pink Floyd's 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon).

 'The Wizard of Oz" has probably has been seen by more people than any other motion picture ever and over multiple decades. The story is timeless. Initially, however, the film, although critically acclaimed, was not a commercial success, netting only $3 million or barely enough for a house in Telluride in better days.

Based on Julia's track record, the SAFYPT production of "The Wizard of Oz" is a winner.

Showtime: 6 p.m. nightly. Tickets are available at the Sheridan Opera House Box Office (Mon-Fri,10am-4pm), by phone at 970.728.6363 or at For more information, visit

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