Dance and Musical Theatre By tepi bell

(Excel Dance Academy, 2017)

The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz was a fantasy film musical from MGM choreographed by Donna Massin in 1939 and was very popular at the time being the most watched motion picture over multiple decades. Dona Massin (originally Lucianna Thomassin) was born on the 18th of February, 1917 in St. Jean Baptiste, Manitoba, Canada. She was married to Don Carn and unfortunately died on the 26th of May, 2001 in Culver City, California USA. She is widely remembered for her great work on The Wizard of Oz. The film was re-released twice in 1949 and in 1955. It was a regularly featured film especially on annual year festivals such as Christmas. Even though the film was considered the most watched film in history it was not commercially successful with production and promotion costs set at $3 million but it was commended. Images, dialogue and music such as “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz have been incredibly cherished and remembered since the film release.

(ATRL, 2017)

The storyline is: A young farm girl from Kansas named Dorothy feels lonely and rejected all the time. Her neighbor also torments her dog Toto and one day tries to take him away, but he escapes. Dorothy is afraid that her neighbor will come back for Toto so she runs away. She doesn't get very far when she realizes the pain she would have caused her family by running away. She runs back home but to her surprise there is a tornado. Dorothy rushes inside to find her family but know one is there. The next thing she knows, the house is carried into the tornado with her inside. Dorothy gets knocked out by a broken window and when she wakes up, it's a whole new world filled with fantasy. To get back home the only way is to defeat the wicked witch of the west and follow a yellow brick road to the emerald city where the wizard of Oz awaits. On her way she meets a talking scarecrow with no brain, a man made of tin without a heart, and a lion with no courage. They join her on her journey and in the end the tin man gets a heart, the lion gets courage, the scarecrow gets a brain and Dorothy gets back home. (Filmsite, 2017) (Massin, 2017)

All the cast including Judy Garland, Bert Lahr, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Mararet Hamilton, Billie Burke, Frank Morgan, Clara Blandick and Chareley Grapewin were all successful actors and actresses best known for The Wizard of Oz.

The Wizard of Oz was inspired by a children’s book from L. Frank Baum’s called The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This book was written by three brilliant writers Florence Ryerson, Noel Langley and E.A. Woolf in 1899 and published in 1900. The Wizard of Oz first appeared on stage at the Grand Opera House in Chicago, on June 16, 1902 and later on Broadway at a theatre in New York on January 21, 1903. The show was so popular its was performed over 290 performances and toured the county doing road shows that lasted up till 1911. The Wizard of Oz was the greatest film of its decade.

(Great Barrington, MA, 2014)

Judy Garland

Judy Garland, originally named Frances Ethel Gumm was an American singer and actress born on the 10th of June 1922 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. She was a very popular icon of the 20th Century and was gifted for her talents.

Judy began entertaining at the age of two when she performed jingle bells along side her two older sisters Susie and jimmy. In 1926 Judy and her family moved to California where she and her sisters studied singing, dancing and acting. Judy and her sisters became known as the Gumm sisters, which later became the garland sisters. Judy had a nickname as baby, which later became Judy.

At the age of thirteen, Judy decided on becoming a more solo performer and signed a contract with MGM. She firstly featured as the-girl-next-door in a film called Pigskin Parade (1936). After that she performed with her friend Mickey Rooney in Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938), which was a good match, so they performed together in more Any Hardy films. Judy was given amphetamines to control her weight and give her energy, which in turn would have some bad outcomes to her mental health later on in her career.

It was 1939 when Judy starred as the main character Dorothy in one of the greatest films of the year, The Wizard of Oz, a musical that had a great turn out for Judy because it really captivated her acting and singing abilities. Soon after she played in many other musicals such as Strike Up the Band (1940), Babes of Broadway (1942) with Mickey Rooney, and For Me and My Gal (1943) with Gene Kelly.

(Gettell, 2017)

On the set of one of Judy’s most famous films Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) she fell in love with the director, Vincent Minnelli and they had a daughter, Liza in 1946.

In 1950, Judy started becoming emotionally unstable and dropped her contract with MGM. Unfortunately her marriage didn't last long with Vincent Minnelli and they divorced in 1952. One year later her career started to restore again with the help of Sid Luft. She casted in her own show at the Palace Theatre on broadway, Which went for 20 weeks and became very popular. That same year she won a Tony Award for her work.

Judy married Luft and had two children, a daughter named Lorna and a son named Joey. He had a really positive impact on her career, and also helped her with one of her famous films casting opposite James Mason A Star Is Born (1954). Later she starred in her own version of “The Man That Got Away”, another of her best performances, which was nominated an Academy Award. In the 1960s Judy focused more on her voice rather than acting and won an Academy Award. Later that year she starred in Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) and Judy at Carnegie Hal that was awarded two Grammy Awards for the Best Solo Vocal Performance and Album of the Year.

In 1963 to 1964 she casted in another of her own television shows The Judy Garland Show, which won an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Musical Program. After her television series had ended Judy continued as an entertainer around the world. Although her personal life was a complete monstrosity since she had had many divorces including a divorce in 1965 with Luft, which left her in a state. She soon married an actor, Mark Herron but divorced him in 1967. That same year Judy returned to Broadway for At Home at the Palace. In 1968 she went to London, performing at the Town nightclubs. Judy had massive financial issues and wasn't very fit for the stage. She married Mickey Deans who was a bandleader and club manager. Only a few months later on the 22nd of June 1969 she overdosed in London, England. After her death her daughters Liza Minnellu and Lorna Luft, both singers carried on her legacy. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2009) (Biography, 2015)

(Freedom From Addiction, 2016)

Reference List


Filmsite. (2017). The Wizard of Oz (1939). [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].

Massin, D. (2017). Dona Massin. [online] IMDb. Available at: [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].

Biography. (2015). Judy Garland Biography. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].

Encyclopedia Britannica. (2009). Judy Garland | American singer and actress. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].


Great Barrington, MA. (2014). Wizard of Oz (1939) 75th Anniversary Screening. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].

ATRL. (2017). Is The Wizard of Oz (1939) Hollywood's magnum opus?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].

Gettell, O. (2017). Judy Garland's offspring to gather for 'Wizard of Oz' Oscar tribute. [online] Los Angeles Times. Available at: [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].

Freedom From Addiction. (2016). Remembering Judy Garland. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].

Excel Dance Academy. (2017). Musical Theatre | Excel Dance Academy. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].

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Tepi Bell

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