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Wizard Of Oz Actor Makes Hay As Straw Man

The Wizard of Oz is one of the most iconic stories of American popular culture. Created originally in novel form,  in 1939 a Judy Garland film was produced, and then in 2011 Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice adapted it for the stage.

The touring production has reached San Antonio, and I spoke with one of its more animated actors, Morgan Reynolds.  I couldn't resist ribbing him so I called him  a "stuffed shirt" kind of character. He laughed of course.

"Yeah!  I play the Scarecrow, falling down the entire show. But it's worth it for that applause."

The slender, affable young man says despite protective pads and the character's straw padding, the role requires a lot.

"Like a warm-up and stretching and a lot of maintenance. I get PT once a week--physical therapy--because it does quite a number on my body."

The production plays through Sunday at the Majestic, and Reynolds thinks it has an appeal to young and old.

"It's really a coming of age story that kind of relates to everybody. Especially our production. We have some new, modern jokes added in, but it is still everything you know and love from the movie."

The Wizard of Oz features special effects, orchestrated music, cinematic and lighting touches. But Reynolds  says it's got one more important element: emotion.

"We see a lot of people crying.  The effects that it has on our audience is quite overwhelming. Even me, and I've done almost 200 performances and I still get choked up during that last scene."

Find more on the Wizard of Oz here

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii