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The Wizard of Oz: Production Design Ideas

  • 1.  The Wizard of Oz: Production Design Ideas

    Posted 01-02-2019 22:27
    Happy 2019, everyone! I'm getting ready to direct The Wizard of Oz at my middle school, and I'm interested in doing something a bit stylized/non-traditional with the production concept and design. I'm currently researching and gathering ideas, and I'm curious if any of you have creative ideas or photos you'd like to share from productions of this show that you've either directed or seen. Thanks in advance!

    Elizabeth Berg
    Drama Teacher
    Ashland Middle School

  • 2.  RE: The Wizard of Oz: Production Design Ideas

    Posted 01-03-2019 08:50
    Edited by Kevin Koperski 01-03-2019 08:50
    Hi Elizabeth,

    We just did The Wizard of Oz last spring with a fairly limited budget, a stage that does not have a fly system, and limited wing space - so I needed to be a little creative in managing all the transitions. I built the castle so it actually folded and rotated on stage (the reverse side was the inside of the Emerald City) and built a mini-thrust that became the yellow brick road to use for scene transitions. I put some of our production pictures in the link below. Take a look and let me know if you have any questions. I'd be happy to help.

    Kevin Koperski
    Drama & Tech Director
    Meade High School

  • 3.  RE: The Wizard of Oz: Production Design Ideas

    Posted 01-03-2019 10:00
      |   view attached


    So many sources! Remember-Baum himself wrote 14 Oz books All told, there are 43 "official" Oz books, plus hundreds of non-canonical works.

     If you want some non-traditional concepts (aka-anything that MGM doesn't have under lock and key), there are quite a few areas to look at.

    1. The original illustrations of John R. Neill. While W.W. Denslow was the illustrator of the original Wizard of Oz, Neill took over on the second book, and remained with the series until well after Baum's death, including writing a few books of his own. Neill's work really influenced the look of "Return To Oz," the 1985 Disney live action film that alienated lovers of the MGM musical, but mostly delighted Ozzites like me.

    2. Eric Shanower. Comic book artist extraordinaire. He published a series of Oz graphic novels- (all titles in format of " The <insert name> of Oz"): Enchanted Apples, Secret Island, Ice King, Forgotten Forest, Blue Witch. His look is sumptuous, and fairly modern. 

    3. Skottie Young. Another comics illustrator. He teamed with Shanower from '09 to '14 and adapted Baum's first 6 books. They were published by Marvel, and eventually collected into "The Oz Omnibus." Young's style is gloriously cartoony. I've included an image of the Omnibus cover. 

    Hope that sparks some ideas!

    Scott Piehler

  • 4.  RE: The Wizard of Oz: Production Design Ideas

    Posted 01-28-2019 13:50
    We did it in the middle school cafeteria and had just the best time playing with fantasy, including the stuffed Toto being tossed over the flat for the Toto you can back, to Toto turning into a 'person' when they landed in Oz. The most fun was the steampunk costume twist! There happened to be a screen on stage that we lowered for the Wizard scene. It was real freaky coming down with the fog whirling in!

    Mary Todd Kaercher
    Mound MN

    Note : Recently uploaded media files are still processing:

    • 6F6A2602-B175-4EF8-9A0A-4CE8CD1B178B.MOV

  • 5.  RE: The Wizard of Oz: Production Design Ideas

    Posted 01-28-2019 14:09
    If you're looking for something non-traditional in the set design concept, check out a set I did for Shrek at a high school a few years ago:

    George F. Ledo
    Set designer