Old-time radio play adapts 'The Wizard of Oz'

  • This weekend, Cantigny is hosting a one-hour "Wizard of Oz" adaptation following Dotty, a plucky Chicago journalist, after a freak tornado blows Aunt Em's Boardinghouse for Girls to the wonderful Land of Oz.

    This weekend, Cantigny is hosting a one-hour "Wizard of Oz" adaptation following Dotty, a plucky Chicago journalist, after a freak tornado blows Aunt Em's Boardinghouse for Girls to the wonderful Land of Oz. Courtesy of Cantigny Park

 
 
Posted5/4/2022 11:12 AM

The Robert R. McCormick House at Cantigny Park presents a live recreation of "Chicago's Theatre of the Air" with a unique adaptation of Frank L. Baum's classic, "The Wizard of Oz."

The free performance will take place at the park's band shell on Saturday, May 7, and Sunday, May 8.

 

In 1925, Colonel Robert R. McCormick, Cantigny's benefactor, invested in the new world of radio and founded WGN. The station's call letters stood for World's Greatest Newspaper, reflecting the Colonel's primary media property, the Chicago Tribune. In 1940, WGN debuted Chicago's Theatre of the Air, billed as "radio's greatest hour of music and drama."

All are invited to travel back in time for a one-hour "Wizard of Oz" adaptation that follows Dotty, a plucky Chicago journalist, after a freak tornado blows Aunt Em's Boardinghouse for Girls to the wonderful Land of Oz. The characters, while familiar, have a new 1920s twist that will have you laughing and smiling all the way down the Yellow Brick Road.

Five actors will perform: Joe Ascenzo, John Bihun, Nicole Borowski, Will Buhlig, and Jameyrae Swetman. Buhlig is director of operations for the Museums at Cantigny Park.

Both shows begin at 11 a.m. Parking is $5 per car.

The Cantigny band shell features open seating on the lawn. Chairs and blankets are recommended, and picnics are welcome.

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In case of inclement weather, the show will be held in the Visitors Center Theater, where seats are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Cantigny Park is open daily from 7 a.m. to sunset. Visitor information and a calendar of events are online at Cantigny.org.

Cantigny Park, part of the Chicago-based Robert R. McCormick Foundation, is the 500-acre Wheaton estate of Robert R. McCormick (1880-1955), longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. It is home to the McCormick House, First Division Museum, display gardens, picnic grounds, walking trails, and a Visitors Center with a gift shop, theater, and cafe. More information, including hours, directions, and upcoming events, is online at Cantigny.org.