This ballet is a full length. Meaning, one ballet with intermissions, similar to a book with chapters.
A former dancer with New York City Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater, Edwaard Liang has built an international reputation as a choreographer. Over the last decade, he has created work for the Bolshoi Ballet, Houston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Kirov Ballet, New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Shanghai Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre and Washington Ballet.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan and raised in Marin County, California, Mr. Liang began his dance training at age five with Marin Ballet. After studying at the School of American Ballet, he joined New York City Ballet in 1993. That same year, he was a medal winner at the Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition and won the Mae L. Wien Award. By 1998, he was promoted to Soloist. In 2001, Mr. Liang joined the Tony Award® winning Broadway cast of Fosse. His performance in Fosse was later televised nationally on PBS’ Great Performances series – “Dance in America: From Broadway: Fosse,” and subsequently released on DVD. By 2002, Mr. Liang was invited by Jiri Kylian to become a member of the acclaimed Nederlands Dans Theater 1.
While dancing with NDT 1, Mr. Liang discovered his passion and love for choreography. Since establishing himself as a choreographer, his works have been performed by dance companies around the world and he has won numerous awards for his choreography including the 2006 National Choreographic Competition.
In 2013, Mr. Liang was named Artistic Director at BalletMet where he continues to choreograph new works for companies both domestically and abroad. In 2017, he received an Emmy® Award for his short dance film, “Vaulted.” In 2018, he created a new ballet with Roberto Bolle for the opening of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
A native of San Francisco, Basil Twist is a third-generation puppeteer. He is the sole American to graduate from the École Supérieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette in Charleville-Mezieres, France. Basil’s showmanship was spotlighted in New York by The Jim Henson International Festival of Puppetry with his award winning “The Araneidae Show.” This recognition coupled with the ground-breaking and multiple award-winning “Symphonie Fantastique,” Twist was revealed as a singular artist of unlimited imagination.
Highlights of subsequent work have included “Petrushka” (commissioned by Lincoln Center) and “Dogugaeshi” (The Japan Society), “Behind the Lid” (Silver Whale Gallery) with the late Lee Nagrin and “Arias with a Twist,” co-created with nightlife icon Joey Arias. “Symphonie” and these productions have now toured throughout the world. In 2012 a cohort of Washington D.C. presenters hosted a retrospective of his work, featuring four productions and an exhibition. His site-specific commission “Seafoam Sleepwalk” for the WOW Festival at the La Jolla Playhouse was a festival favorite. “Rite of Spring” was commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts & made its world premiere at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013, appearing also at Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival. “Sisters Follies” was created for Abrons Arts Center’s 100th Anniversary in 2015
Deeply musical in nature, Mr.Twist thrives in the world of Opera. He just created a new Titon et l’Aurore with Les Arts Florissants at the Opera Comique in Paris. He recently collaborated with Phelim McDermott on “Aida” at English National Opera, Geneva Opera House and Houston Grand Opera, with Dick Bird on “Otello” premiering at Vienna’s WIENER STAATSOPER. A new production of Ottorini Respighi’s “La Bella Dormente Nel Bosco” was created with the Gotham Chamber Opera for Lincoln Center Festival and Spoleto USA Festivals, Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel” for the Houston, Atlanta and Michigan Operas. De Falla’s “Master Peters Puppet Show” was commissioned by Eos Orchestra and performed with The Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Twist is a frequent collaborator with the late Lee Breuer/Mabou Mines. From “Peter and Wendy” to “Red Beads” to his debut at The Comedie Francaise as production designer and co-director with the Breuer for “A Streetcar named Desire.”
In dance most recently, he created the sets and puppetry for the world premiere of “Dorothy and The Prince of Oz” for The Tulsa Ballet and collaborated on a new “Nutcracker” with Christopher Wheeldon for The Joffrey Ballet. Previously with Mr. Wheeldon, Twist designed puppetry for “Cinderella” at the Dutch National Ballet & San Francisco Ballet, and “A Winter’s Tale” for the Royal Ballet. He premiered “Darkness and Light” with Pilobolus and created the title role in “Wonderboy” with The Joe Goode Dance Company. He adapted his “Petrushka” to concert hall staging with full orchestra for the Fort Worth & Phoenix Symphony. This staging of “Petrushka” also made a spotlight appearance at City Center’s “Fall for Dance”
Twist created the unforgettable siblings in Paula Vogel’s play “The Long Christmas Ride Home” at Trinity Repertory, The Long Wharf and The Vineyard Theatre (including directing and designing the West Coast Premiere at The Magic Theatre), the play within the play for Oskar Eustis’ “Hamlet” at Shakespeare in the Park and Des Macunuff’s “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” at the La Jolla Playhouse.
Broadway credits include puppetry design for “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory”, “Oh, Hello!”, “The Addams Family”, and puppetry direction for the beloved “Pee-Wee Herman Show”.
Teaching at leading Universities such as Princeton, Stanford, Duke, New York University Rhode Island School of Design and Brown has been a source of pride. Twist was as a guest lecturer for the U.S. State Dept traveling throughout Russia. His work has received an Obie, Drama Desk Awards, UNIMA Awards, Bessie Awards, a New York Innovative Theatre Award, and a Henry Hewes Award. He has been honored with a MacArthur, the “Rome Prize” from The American Academy in Rome, a Guggenheim Fellowship, USA Fellowship, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and his productions have received numerous grants from the Jim Henson Foundation.
Twist guides the internationally recognized Dream Music Puppetry Program at HERE in NYC.
“…the production is a total triumph. Dazzling dancing, stunning sets and an overall aura of magic…”
While back in Kansas with Uncle Henry and Aunt Em, Dorothy receives a special invitation asking her to return to Oz. Reuniting with Glinda and Scarecrow, Dorothy soon discovers that Oz is in trouble and that only she can restore peace across the land by rescuing the Prince from the kingdom of Queen Diamond.
Using the magic of the all-knowing Book of Knowledge, Glinda foresees the end of Oz due to King Sapphire and Queen Diamond’s feud over their son. She quickly seeks out Dorothy’s help to stop the book’s prophecy from coming true.
Excited to hear about Dorothy’s return to OZ, Scarecrow travels to Emerald City to greet her. After learning about the Book of Knowledge’s prophecy from Glinda, Scarecrow promises to help Dorothy save the land of Oz.
Oz is in danger! Glinda the Good Witch consults the Book of Knowledge to figure out why. Through the Book’s magic, she travels through memories of the past. The Book shows her the powerful love of Queen Diamond and King Sapphire, strong enough to unite two kingdoms and bring a son into the world. Glinda had once presented that young Prince with an amulet. But as he grew, the King and Queen began to argue, so intensely that the Queen cast a spell over her son to hide him away in her kingdom. Glinda’s memories fade away. She realizes that the only way to save Oz is to reunite the two kingdoms—a task only a certain someone can handle. Mind made up, Glinda sends a Phoenix to Kansas with a special invitation.
Dorothy must help tidy the house, for Uncle Henry and Aunt Em are expecting guests. She dusts and cleans until she is interrupted by a Phoenix flying into her bedroom. She reads the invitation from Glinda. Of course she’ll go to Oz! She quickly prepares for her journey.
Emerald City: All of Emerald City is excited for Dorothy’s return, and they host a large celebration in her honor. Even her old friend Scarecrow comes to welcome her. Glinda then takes her to the Book of Knowledge. The Book transports Dorothy to a magical place where she and the Prince meet. Although their time together is short, they fall in love. The Prince gives his amulet to Dorothy. As the Book closes, Glinda shows Dorothy the history of the Land of Oz and the wisdom of how to reunite the kingdoms. Dorothy and Scarecrow set off to rescue the Prince from the spell.
King Sapphire’s Kingdom: Dorothy and Scarecrow travel through the Land of the Mist Maidens on their way to King Sapphire’s empire. The King mourns the loss of his son, who he hasn’t seen in many years. Dorothy comforts him and promises to rescue the Prince.
Queen Diamond’s Kingdom: Dorothy and Scarecrow arrive at the Queen’s dome to find she has assembled a large army. While the Queen is distracted, Dorothy finds the Prince and places the amulet around his neck, activating the magic within. With the spell lifted, he recognizes her from the moment they shared through the Book of Knowledge. Dorothy gives him a hair ribbon as a token of her love. The Queen discovers the intruders, steals the amulet, and imprisons Dorothy and Scarecrow. She blames the King for Dorothy’s meddling and declares war against him.
The two kingdoms engage in an epic battle. The King manages to grab the amulet in the fight. In retaliation the Queen forces the Prince, still under her spell, to duel his own father. At the last moment the King slips the amulet around his son’s neck. The magic of the amulet helps the Prince fight his entrancement. The Queen is about to stab the King, but the Prince saves his father by taking his place. As the Prince falls to the ground, the Queen becomes distraught, begging forgiveness from her son and husband. The Prince holds up Dorothy’s hair ribbon and explains that his dying wish is to see Dorothy again. The King and Queen then unite to bring the Prince to Dorothy.
Queen Diamond’s Kingdom: Dorothy sees the Prince and runs to his side, but it is too late. She dances once more with his departed spirit. As all mourn, Glinda arrives and explains that their combined power can still save the Prince. The group of four places their hands over the amulet—and the Prince returns to life. The Land of Oz rejoices! Queen Diamond and King Sapphire finally reconcile their differences. Although Dorothy and the Prince want to be together, she must return to Kansas.
Kansas: Dorothy is transported back to Kansas. Uncle Henry and Aunt Em are about to sit down to tea with their new neighbors. Dorothy, greeting them, is astonished at how familiar they seem. Their son enters the parlor. It’s the Prince! When they have a moment alone, the Prince takes Dorothy’s hand and once again gives her the amulet as a symbol of his love. Oz has been saved and the two reunited; all is well.
Learn more about the puppetry in Dorothy and the Prince of Oz.
There are parking garages near the Ohio and the Capitol theatres, as well as limited metered street parking (most of which is free after 6 pm and on Sundays).
Ohio Statehouse Parking Garage
$5 during events
Enter from westbound Broad Street or Third Street.
Riffe Center Parking Garage
$5 during events
Enter from Front Street. Take the elevators to the third floor and proceed along the hall to the Davidson Theatre. (For the Box Office or Will Call, descend the escalators to the first floor.)
Downtown traffic can be heavy, so please plan ahead. We recommend arriving 20-30 minutes early to park, find your seat, explore the program and relax before the performance. Audience members who arrive late may not be seated until intermission.
This is our most-asked question, and the answer is: You probably won’t feel out of place no matter what you wear. If you want to wear jeans, go for it—we promise you won’t be alone. If you want to dress up, feel free. Many others do, too. We don’t see as much formal-wear in the theater as we once did, though it wouldn’t be unusual to see a tux or a gown at a performance. Basically, anything goes.
No, dancers express the story or meaning through the movement. In some story ballets, dancers will use pantomime (exaggerated movements) to help you understand what’s happening. If you see a ballet with pantomime, head to the lobby, where we’ll have more information and guidance. If you ever struggle to follow along, feel free to chat with a BalletMet staff member in the lobby who will happily answer any questions you have.
If you are wowed by something you just saw, please do applaud. At BalletMet, we love to hear clapping. It’s uplifting to those performing, as they can often feel your excitement and energy on stage. So applaud whenever you see fit! Note: Not every ballet company feels this way, so keep that in mind if you happen to be at another company’s performance.
Images by Jennifer Zmuda
Dancers Pictured: Caitlin Valentine-Ellis, Carly Wheaton, Miguel Anaya, David Ward, Grace-Anne Powers, Artists of Tulsa Ballet