Yak's backstage pass Just for kids


Keeping a show on the road is hard work!

That's what the Yak learned after taking a backstage tour of the New York traveling production of "The Wizard of Oz."

When it comes to costumes, it takes a wardrobe wizard with lots of help to keep the lion groomed, the ruby slippers sparkling and those pesky wings staying on the flying monkeys.

Here are some neat Yak facts about these cool costumes:

The lion's curl: It's human hair that makes the lion's mane so curly - and it gets a perm treatment to keep the curl.

That lion suit is a body suit of stretch velour; then the pieces - like the tail - are harnessed on. That costume weighs at least 24 pounds. Whew!

The Tinman: He's actually plastic - and the pieces in metallic silver leaf paint are also harnessed to the actor.

The Scarecrow: Here's a secret to share. The scarecrow falls a lot, so he wears almost as much padding as any hockey player. He uses the same type of padding that inline skaters use - elbows, knees, wrists and all are well-padded under his costume.

That's raffia you see sticking out - with some straw.

The ruby slippers: Dorothy's slippers aren't made of real rubies, of course, but they are pretty special. The shoes are handmade in New York and then the crystals (from Australia) are hand set before opening night. Then the slippers are touched up before every perfor-mance so they'll sparkle just like rubies.#

Altogether, the costumes for this production fill a whole semi-truck. And it's quite a job taking care of them.

For instance, Glinda, the Good Witch, has a fancy dress that's long and constantly needs re-sewing. And the green makeup of the wicked witch stains the costume.

Every day, though, these costumes are cleaned and pressed so they will be fresh for the audience and actors.

The biggest challenge? It's those big monkey wings, says wardrobe supervisor Gerbie Connolly.

"The monkey wings are really big and stick out - they get beaten up a lot."


This week's Brainy-Yak question:

What year was the movie "The Wizard of Oz" made?

A. 1936

b. 1939

c. 1943

d. 1951

e. 1955


Pub Date: 5/11/98

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