The Yellow-Brick Road from Oz to Denver: A timeline

Wizard of Oz. Photo by Daniel A. Swalec
From left: Aaron Fried as Lion, Jay McGill as Tin Man, Morgan Reynolds as Scarecrow and Sarah Lasko as Dorothy in the national touring production of ‘The Wizard of Oz.’  Photo by Daniel A. Swalec.

The Wizard of Oz is one of the most recognizable icons of North American pop culture. It has been interpreted, reinterpreted, parodied, plagiarized and performed across every medium.

The latest incarnation, by Andrew Lloyd Webber, comes to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts for a week beginning Feb. 7, so we thought it appropriate to follow the long and winding road that takes us from L. Frank Baum’s source book to the present. We’re definitely not in Kansas anymore.

Wizard of Oz montage1903
L. Frank Baum writes an original American fairytale — The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Dorothy makes her first appearance on the silver screen in The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays, Baum’s first attempt to create a cinematic version of his Oz books. He goes bankrupt.

A silent film based partly on the 1902 stage musical and directed by Otis Turner is released.


Another silent film makes its debut and credits L. Frank Baum Jr. as the screenwriter.

The MGM classic starring Judy Garland is released.

The 1939 film is adapted into a stage musical.

The first musical adaptation premieres in Chicago and then moves to Broadway in 1903.

The Tony Award-winning The Wiz puts Oz in the context of African-American culture. It is remade as a movie in 1978 starring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross. A new adaptation is aired live on national
TV in 2015.

Oz is an Australian reimagining of the classic film transferred to hard-rocking 1970s Australia.

Return to Oz is Disney’s unofficial sequel to the classic; it incorporates many characters from Baum’s sequels.

A full anime adaptation of Baum’s books called The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is created featuring 52 episodes.


The Wizard of A.I.D.S. is an adaptation used as an educational play about AIDS.

The 1939 film is adapted for stage again, this time for the Royal Shakespeare Company. It is truer to the screenplay than the adaptation from the 1940s.

Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked reimagines the story of the Wicked Witch of the West addressing how she may have gotten to be that way.

The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True is a star-studded benefit concert at New York’s Lincoln Center.


Maguire’s novel is adapted into the Tony Award-winning Broadway smash hit musical Wicked, which has visited Denver a record five times.

The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The Sci Fi Channel released a mini-series called The Tin Man — a reimagined science-fiction version of Dorothy’s tale.

Scott Stanford’s novel Dorothy: The Darker Side of Oz is a modern retelling of Baum’s original story.

Oz — The Wonderful Wizard is a full-length ballet by the Staatsballett Berlin.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new stage production takes the stage before going on tour — the same tour now visiting Denver.

Oz: The Great and Powerful, a film about the Wizard’s arrival in Oz is released starring James Franco.

The animated film Dorothy of Oz hits the big screen.

The Wizard of Oz. The 1939 film starring Judy Garland.
The 1939 film classic starring Judy Garland.

The Wizard of Oz: Ticket information

  • Through Feb. 13 at the Buell Theatre
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
  • TTY: 303-893-9582
  • Groups of 15 or more: 303-446-4829
  • Also: Purchase in person at The Denver Center Ticket Office, located at the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby. Buy and print online at DenverCenter.Org.
  • Accessibility performance: 2 p.m. Feb. 13
  • Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts – – is the only authorized online ticket provider for ‘The Wizard of Oz.’

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