Recommending: Wizard of Oz on Ice

I have a confession to make. This is what’s called a “long con.” I decided to write, to make my writing public for one reason and one reason only. I need as many people as possible to watch Wizard of Oz on Ice.

I had one of those “everybody shut up, it’s Wednesday and I can’t drink on school grounds” kinds of music teachers in elementary school. We’ll call her Ms. Fuckit. And she loved us, but teaching music can be a challenge. Have you ever heard a recorder? Have you ever heard a recorder played badly? Have you ever heard twenty-three of them at once? For most people that’s hell. For Ms. Fuckit, that’s a Tuesday in April. So, I felt for her. And, when she needed a break, I respected that. So a lot of class time was listening to full albums while she rubbed her eyes and prayed to whatever God would listen for some goddam answers about where she went wrong. And one fateful day, she turned off the lights and put on a movie.

It was a taped-off-of-TV broadcast of Wizard of Oz on Ice and while the Brians and Felipes and Hannahs of my class passed notes and laughed about the obvious gayness of figure skaters, I was watching the TV and losing my mind. The skating was okay, the symphony was fine, but here’s the thing people. The star of the show was Bobby McFerrin.

Now I’ve talked about McFerrin before, he’s one of the people I’d be crushed about if I heard they went all Cosby on somebody. McFerrin gave us “Don’t Worry Be Happy” but the real magic of the man is he makes all his own music. I don’t mean he plays instruments, or records himself in the studio. I mean this guy uses his mouth, his hands, his body to become a piano, a clarinet, a guitar, a bass, or a chorus of bees (that last one is real, he did it with Yo Yo Ma and it’s some next level shit). I love and respect that kind of power.

(Also, if you don’t know what I mean by “power,” this is a clip of his live performance at a Montreal Jazz Festival where he performed a Bach prelude under an audience he taught to sing “Ave Maria:”

Watch that. Watch an entire world go silent and start to sing. Watch Bobby McFerrin build something holy out of a crowd. I’m getting hysterical, but that happens when McFerrin comes up.)

Anyway, Wizard of Oz on Ice. It’s dope. Olympic gold medalists on the ice, singing sensation Shanice singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and the story of Wizard of Oz being told by Bobby McFerrin.

Did I say told? I mean performed. Full tilt theatrical production level performed. And Bobby McFerrin is the whole damn cast.

Dorothy? Bobby.
Tin Man? Bobby,
Wicked Witch?
Lollipop guild, lullaby league, coroner and mayor of the motherfucking munchkin city?

You know the answer already.

This televised ice-travaganza is basically a chance for a vocal wizard to flex on the world. It’s an undiluted Pulp Fiction syringe of pure childhood. It’s pure magic. It’s a glorious wonder. If you like the Wizard of Oz, if you like Ice, if you like talent,

Find this gem.
Do your heart a favor.
Give my music teacher a reason to live.


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