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'Oz' Symposium to Explore Great Classic

October 11, 2005 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- In conjunction with the opening of “WAS,” the new musical and premier production of the American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University, a one-day symposium will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at the McCormick Tribune Center, 1870 Campus Drive, Evanston campus. Admission is free and open to the public.

“From the Wonderful Wizard to ‘WAS’: The Legacy and Challenges of ‘The Wizard of Oz’” will be curated by Tracy C. Davis, Northwestern University’s Barber Professor of Performing Arts.

The American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) is a new initiative at Northwestern dedicated to nourishing the vitality of American music theatre through the development and production of new musicals by music theatre’s leading artists. Educational enhancement and research are two additional goals of the organization, which is headed by Executive Director Dominic Missimi and Artistic Director Stuart Oken.

“WAS” is the first of several new musicals that will be presented on the Evanston campus. Because the new musical’s thematic material relates to “Oz,” the symposium has invited four speakers to address various aspects of L. Frank Baum’s great American classic.

The Nov. 5 symposium schedule follows:

• 9 a.m. “Oz Before the Rainbow,” a lecture by screenwriter Mark Evan Swartz, award-winning author of “Oz Before the Rainbow: L Frank Baum’s ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ on Stage and Screen to 1939.”

• 10:15 a.m. Stacy Wolf, author of “A Problem Like Maria: Gender and Sexuality in the American Musical,” will discuss “Wicked Women and Musical Theatre in the 21st Century.”

• 11:30 a.m. Derek Goldman, founding artistic director of the StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance in Pittsboro, N.C., and Tim Raphael, theatre director and performance historian, will discuss their project “Hymn to Elsewhere.” The project is an exploration of media and migration.

• 2 p.m. Goldman and Raphael also will conduct a two-hour “Hymn to Elsewhere” workshop. Participants will engage in a series of exercises designed to explore notions of home and elsewhere through the iconography of Kansas and Oz.

For pre-registration and informational brochure, call (847) 491-5146.

To learn more about the AMTP or the “WAS” premiere, visit <www.amtp.northwestern.edu>.

Topics: Campus Life