So Many Dorothys; So Little Time 

Seven of the 1900-1970 Dorothys.

The Johnson County (Kansas) Museum served up a wonderful fashion show today. Fifteen various Dorothy costumes were modeled live, each accompanied by a scrap of music associated with that costume.  I gave each outfit context–laced with trivia–from the podium.  The crowd turned into paparazzi, the girls had fun, and I … well, I was in my element. I loved every minute of it.


Gift bags and food backstage made for happier Dorothys.

More than 40 tickets were sold in advance to the catered event, with additional tickets that day. Add in the staff, volunteers, and models and the tables were comfortably filled.  The room was decorated with inflatable “poppies” and an Emerald City for photos. On a side table I placed a large cut out of the Ted Eshbaugh Dorothy (Love her, but I am NOT putting that one or the Meglin Kiddie Dorothy on a person, even if those were, respectively, the first color and talking film Dorothys!). I added an MGM Garland dress, and a framed pair of bows specific to the original Ruby Slippers to the table for those curious about accuracy.

1925 Chadwick film’s Dorothy Dwan — the first time the character was aged to be an adult.


I was delighted to see Oz Club brochures placed at each chair!

Walter Krueger first dreamed up this fashion show concept for the Oz Club’s 2017 convention in the Chicago area. For this year’s event, I had additional costumes made, borrowed others, wrote a new script, tracked down more music, and purchased accessories. Most of my prep time was spent on shoes. We may have only needed nine specific pair–the other girls could wear black flats–but when you don’t know until a week before show time what size those nine pair need to be, it’s daunting. 

Me with Dorothy — now a Princess of Oz — and Billina.

My closing remarks thanked, “…friends Blair Frodelius and Gregory Foreman for providing our show today with music clips. Plus the makers of these costumes. While I picked them up a couple years before I ever thought I’d need to remember who made them, Shawn Ryan made several of these for an Oz Club fashion show in 2017. Sean Barrett, Judy Bieber, Karyl Carlson, and Zoe O’Haillin contributed others, and Katie Coen and Sachi Stroder created more specifically for today’s show.”

Left, McKenna Neef prepares to sing Over the Rainbow wearing her theater costume for an August production of The Wizard of Oz.

Our grand finale singled out our 1939 model, McKenna Neef, who will play Dorothy Aug. 2-10 at the Theater in the Park in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. She stepped forward to sing “Over the Rainbow.” There was a drawing for tickets to the show–one set won by my friend Chris Glasgow, curator of the Oz Museum–and we broke for photos and conversation.

Return to Oz, Oz on Ice, and Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return. Or as I thought of them, “bows, skates, and boots.”

After sleepless nights worried about “no shows”! Stage fright! Shoes don’t fit! Technical difficulties! or some other catastrophe, the show ran smoothly and right on cue.  It was only after we were finished that they had to clear the building over a water main break.  

Land of Oz Theme Park and Madison Square Garden Dorothys.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.