Audiobook Review: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

In search again for a series that I could enjoy listening to, I decided to give The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Oz Series, Book 1 a radio dramatization by The Colonial Radio Theatre a try. I read the books when I was younger, but it has been a while. I remember liking the first few quite a bit, and then petering off as the author, L. Frank Baum, got heavier and heavier handed with his message to the reader. The version by The Colonial Radio Theatre was adapted for the dramatization by Jerry Robbins, performed by Jerry Robbins and The Colonial Radio Players.

Cover of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Summary from Brilliance Audio:

One of the true classics of American literature. Originally published in 1900, it was the first truly American fairy tale, as Baum crafted a wonderful fantasy, peopled with memorable characters — a cornfield scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and a humbug wizard. Follow the adventures of young Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto, as their Kansas house is swept away by a cyclone and they find themselves in a strange land called Oz. Here she meets the Munchkins and joins the Scarecrow, the Tinman, and the Cowardly Lion on an unforgettable journey to the Emerald City.

Jerry Robbins did a fair job with his adaption for dramatization. I felt it closely resembled the book, at least from what I can remember. Which may surprise some people as the movie definitely veered away in some aspects. I also quite enjoyed the multiple voice over actors speaking the different parts, that is always far more enjoyable I find. I did have a hard time with the minimization of narration. Often the characters would say things I thought would be better suited for a narration. It was more like a play with a small narrator part than a book being read.

Of course as a dramatization by a theater group, I probably should have expected this. Perhaps, it is because I have Neil Gaiman’s, American Gods on constant repeat as I fall asleep, but I expect a great deal from dramatizations and voice over acting. I find very few productions live up to that particular audiobook. A book that I have found a greater and greater appreciation for the more times I listen to it. You can read my review here.

If you are looking for a family friendly fun theater dramatization of first book in The Wizard of Oz series The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as radio dramatized by The Colonial Radio Theatre is an excellent choice. Plus they did several books in the series, which I may eventually get back to when I’m done with my current selections.

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