The Woodsman (play)

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The Woodsman
The Woodsman Play
Playbill from the 2016 Off-Broadway Production
Written byJames Ortiz
Music byEdward W. Hardy
Lyrics byJennifer Loring
GenreDramatico-musical

The Woodsman is a 2012 American stage play, written by James Ortiz with music composed by Edward W. Hardy and lyrics by Jennifer Loring[1]. It focuses on the story of the Tin Woodman character from L. Frank Baum's series of books set in the fictional Land of Oz, notably Baum's 1918 book The Tin Woodman of Oz.[2] The production employs live performers, puppets, music, and very few spoken words.[3]

Conceived by James Ortiz, Edward W. Hardy and Strangemen Theatre Company [4], originally created by James Ortiz & Diana Stahl[5] and produced by Steven Laing & Jason Ralph,[6] the show debuted in 2012 at Standard ToyKraft in Brooklyn, followed by a 2013 run at the Ars Nova ANT Fest. It has been produced Off-Broadway at 59E59 Theaters in 2014[7] and 2015,[8] and at New World Stages in 2016.[9]

The play has received critical praise, and won a 2016 Obie Award for Ortiz's puppet design.[10][11] On September 2, 2016, a filmed performance of the work was broadcast by PBS stations, as part of the Theater Close-Up series produced by WNET in association with BroadwayHD.[12]

Plot[edit]

The play focuses on the story of Nick Chopper, a mortal woodsman who falls in love with a young woman whose guardian is the Wicked Witch of the East. (The witch's rule has made everyone afraid to speak aloud, so people mainly communicate in noises.) The witch curses his axe and he begins to lose pieces of himself. As he falls apart, he is replaced piece by piece with metal, while trying to hold on to his love and identity.[13]

Original Off-Broadway cast[edit]

  • Ben Bass (Munchkin)
  • Devin Dunne Cannon (Ma)
  • Will Gallacher (Pa/Tinker)
  • Edward W. Hardy (Munchkin/Violinist)
  • Amanda Lederer (The Witch/ Tinker)
  • Aaron McDaniel (Tinker)
  • James Ortiz (Nick Chopper)
  • Eliza Simpson (Nimmie)
  • Meghan St. Thomas (Munchkin)
  • Carol Uraneck (The Witch)

Cast recording[edit]

The Woodsman (Original Off-Broadway Solo Recording)
Cast recording by
ReleasedMay 29, 2016 (2016-05-29)
Recorded(2016) Jonathan Jetter - Right Angle Studios New York, NY
Genre
Length34:13
LabelSolo
Producer

The Woodsman (Original Off-Broadway Solo Recording), an album featuring the music composed and performed by Edward W. Hardy, was released digitally on May 29, 2016.

The album received positive mention in Broadway World.[14] Hardy said the music was intended to "reflect the period in history and to pay homage to L. Frank Baum’s touching story", using different musical genres.[15]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleLength
1."Cerulean Sky (Prologue)"5:23
2."Whispering Munchkins-Dark Woods"2:01
3."Nick Chopper"6:10
4."Nimme and the Wicked Witch of the East"2:30
5."The Kalidah"3:00
6."Nick Chopper & Nimmie Amee"1:33
7."Finding Love"1:39
8."Forever Yours"1:45
9."Tinkers"2:40
10."My Heart Is Gone"2:12
11."Rusting Tin Man"2:41
12."Dorothy Arrives"1:33
13."Bonus Track"1:06

Reception[edit]

New York Times critic Laura Collins-Hughes praised the 2015 production, especially for Hardy's music and for Ortiz's puppet design, while noting that the visual, nonverbal storytelling of the hour-long production was not always clear to the audience.[8] Collins-Hughes found the 2016 production to be less rushed and "more assured", with an increased "visual lushness", but felt that "mechanics get in the way of fantasy" during part of the show.[9] Variety's Marilyn Stasio cited the production's "haunting beauty", while Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter described the "charming and disturbing", minimalist production as the antithesis of Wicked, the massively successful big-budget Oz-based musical playing a block away.[2]


References[edit]

  1. ^ Hayley Levitt, "'The Woodsman' Returns to New York at New World Stages", Theatremania, February 01, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Frank Scheck, "'The Woodsman': Theater Review", The Hollywood Reporter, February 8, 2016.
  3. ^ Mark Kennedy, "New York home to idiosyncratic works from actor-playwrights", Associated Press, May 5, 2016  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  4. ^ Lortel Archives, "'The Woodsman'", Lortel Archives Internet Off-Broadway Database.
  5. ^ BWW News Desk, "THE GIRL OF THE GOLDEN WEST, WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE and More Set for ANT Fest at Ars Nova, Now thru 6/22", BroadwayWorld, June 17, 2013.
  6. ^ Stage Tube, "STAGE TUBE: Inside Look - 'THE WOODSMAN' Original Off-Broadway Solo Recording Tugs the Heart Strings", BroadwayWorld, February 14, 2017.
  7. ^ Woodsman (2014 production), 59E59 Theaters (accessed 2016-09-27).
  8. ^ a b Laura Collins-Hughes, "Led by a Tender Heart, Before It Is Ripped Out: ‘The Woodsman’ Tells the Tin Man’s Tale", The New York Times, January 20, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Laura Collins-Hughes, "Review: In ‘The Woodsman,’ a Love Lost in Oz Under a Witch’s Spell", The New York Times, February 21, 2016.
  10. ^ 2016 Obie Award winners, accessed 2016-09-27.
  11. ^ Zoe Beery, "The Tin Man of Oz Gets a Refit in 'The Woodsman'", The Village Voice, May 24, 2016.
  12. ^ "Theater Close-Up: The Woodsman", WNET (accessed 2016-09-27).
  13. ^ Marilyn Stasio, "Off Broadway Review: Oz Backstory ‘The Woodsman’", Variety, February 8, 2016.
  14. ^ Jessica Khan. "Broadway AM Report, 6/30/2016 - Vineyard Luncheon, Idina on THE TALK and More!". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
  15. ^ Dani Del Pico, "Edward W. Hardy's wonderful world". The Pickwyck. Retrieved 2016-08-28.

External links[edit]