Saturday, October 23, 2021

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by the Toronto Civic Light Opera Company

 You may have heard of this company before for their original musical adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, with music by the late James P. Doyle. The musical proved popular with audiences and has been revived several times over the years. (However, it has yet to make it outside of Canada, save for a two-man concert version that was performed by director Joe Cascone and his partner David Haines at OzCon International one year.)

However, that's not what this review is about.

The company was going to revive their production of Oz yet again when they had to cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they decided to make some Oz happen another way by producing an audio book production of the original book.

The resulting production is now available on an MP3CD. The format is a CD that contains audio as MP3 files burned onto it as a data track. There are some CD players that can handle them, or you can play them on modern home theater disc players, or you can use a computer with a disc drive to play them or copy the files to a device.

I was provided with a review copy, so thanks, Joe!

The runtime is about three hours and twenty minutes. This is shorter than many other unabridged versions. This all depends on the tempo of the reader, but in this case, it's not one reader. They have a cast performing the dialogue with Joe Cascone reading the rest of the book. Listeners of The Royal Podcast of Oz will be familiar with this style as we've done it for several L. Frank Baum stories. It offers a faster pace to the storytelling as the reader doesn't need to change their vocal performance, another performer leaps right in and takes care of the character's voice.

There's some who might bristle at calling this unabridged as the introduction and dedication are not included. It's not the only audio book version that omits these.

In addition to the fine vocal performances from the cast, the production uses classical music and sound effects to further liven up the production.

The result is a very pleasing production. Usually when I listen to audio books and podcasts, I turn up the speed a little. This time, it was an easy listen without doing that.

The CD features a booklet, a simple four-panel (one piece of paper, folded in half) with the front cover an adaptation of a promotional poster by Denslow, some text explaining the production, photos of the cast, and a track list. The back cover features a list of the music used and a cast list.

You can purchase a copy of the CD from eBay.