Dr. J. D. Newman will perform his solo play The Man Behind the Curtain in the Big Cottonwood Room at Holladay City Hall on Tuesday, November 22 at 7pm. Admission is free. 4580 So. 2300 E. Holladay Utah 84117

The main character in the play is L. Frank Baum, best known as the author of The Wizard of Oz and 13 other Oz books. The play is set as one of Baum’s theatrical productions has been cancelled and “The Royal Historian of Oz” offers the audience his own story of how he found his way to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Before finding his calling as a writer of children’s stories, Baum struggled to make his living as an actor, director, store-owner, baseball team secretary, small-town newspaper editor, reporter, and traveling salesman. L. Frank Baum tells how each of his professions developed his abilities as a master storyteller and how he transformed his dreams and nightmares into the beloved characters of his best known story. His life intersects with American notables such as author Charles Dickens, inventor Thomas Edison, and his mother-in-law and women’s suffrage leader, Matilda Joslyn Gage. 

The play was premiered during Dr. Newman’s recent residency at the Open Eye Theater in Margaretville, New York under the direction of Dr. Tania Myren. Producing Artistic Director Amie Brockway stated, “The Open Eye is pleased to bring this world premiere of a play that brings to life the origin of one of the great American classics to Catskills audiences. It is a great story of the Land of Oz and its characters with the wonders of the Emerald City and the Wizard.  J. D. Newman is the one to tell it.”


Newman earned a PhD in Educational Theater at New York University. He has been a Professor of Theatre and Director of the Noorda Theatre Center for Children and Youth at Utah Valley University since 2010, after teaching and directing theatre for eighteen years at Highland High School in Salt Lake City. He has created authorized stage adaptations of novels by Newbery medalists including Avi, Paul Fleischman, Richard Peck, and Jean Lee Latham. This production is the culmination of a year’s research of the life of L. Frank Baum.ype your paragraph here.