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CD REVIEW: The Wizard of Oz – The 1903 Broadway Musical
By Ben Ohmart - 08/15/2003 - 03:28 PM EDT

Artist: The Wizard of Oz
Album: The 1903 Broadway Musical
CD Review: This is a treat. A real treat. And not many Real treats come my way. This 2 cd set of the 1903 Broadway musical, The Wizard of Oz is certain to win some major awards for restoring another bit of lost musical history. It’s a collection of vintage recordings (yes, all originals) from wax cylinders, 78s, piano rolls and music boxes from 1902 through 1918. They sound amazingly good for being 100 years old. There is of course surface noise in dealing with recordings this old, but that’s the only thing even slightly negative you can say about this set, lovingly assembled. Producer David Maxine and audio engineer Adrian Cosentini should be commended and get more jobs like this.

Each cd is 73 minutes and the set includes 2 booklets. One tells about the production and the recordings from which these delightfully catchy tunes are pulled. The 2nd booklet gives you the entire lyrics to the show, supplemented with synopses of the action. And each includes pictures of the production and actors.

It is a fascinating achievement, and well worth the $29.99 retail price. The music may sound nothing like the Harold Arlen score of the famed 1939 film, but it is an important staple of musical theatre, and infectious with its chipper nature, vaudeville style and as a fantastic mirror to the past.

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