2012 Works in Progress

             L. Frank Baum, the creator of The Wizard of Oz, had been living a fabulous life since the publication of this breakthrough novel in 1900. There were great book sales, a popular stage show, and numerous sequels.  It all came crashing down in 1908 with the disastrous failure of an innovative, self-produced stage production. Declaring bankruptcy, Baum surrendered title of his Oz stories to his creditors and moved to the orange groves of Hollywood, California.  He set out to leave Oz behind and to create a new story line involving a spunky young girl and two friends who travel to Sky Island.

             In this performance, you will experience Frank Baum in 1912 sharing key excerpts from this fantastic story along with autobiographical highlights. Witness the hopefulness of this American visionary, as he sets out on a new journey.

             J-Powers has adapted and directed this work for the stage.


Mark L. Colbenson

Mark L. Colbenson:  Born and raised in Minnesota, Mark began his acting career when he was 17, having auditioned for the All School Play on a bet…and ending up in the lead role in Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town”.  Now, nearly 40 years later, he has relocated to Los Angeles and “chasing the dream” in both stage and film.  In between, he spent nearly 25 years in the financial industry before changing his career direction in 1999 and getting into acting and directing full time. He has performed in more than 30 stage productions and directed as many more.  His onstage and directing roles have taken him from Minnesota to North Carolina, Rhode Island to Indiana, and now to the Los Angeles area.  Some favorite stage roles include Joe Keller in “All My Sons”, Megs in ‘Strange Snow”, Henry Drummond in “Inherit the Wind” and the title roles in the one-man shows “Einstein, A Stage Portrait” and “Clarence Darrow”.  Since arriving in Los Angeles, he has expanded his film credits with appearances on “We the People with Gloria Allred”, “Fatal Encounters”, and the new web series western, “Dead Men” along with other projects.


Mark is proud to be “Dad” to Karen and Laura and is most grateful to his loving partner, Marti, for her willingness to make the leap and share this journey with him. 


Special thanks to John Powers for this opportunity to present “Baum”.


For its ninth consecutive year, Works in Progress presents dramas of compelling contemporary events in the intimate Nakano Theatre at Torrance Cultural Arts Center.  Q & A and reception will follow each event.


Tickets per event (includes $2.50 handling fee): $25 Adults / $23 Senior & Students / $20 Subscribers     

Works in Progress is a program of the Cultural Services Division of the Torrance Community Services Department.   This series is presented in association with El Camino College Community Education, Torrance Community Television,  Torrance Historical Society & Museum, Torrance Public Library,

Experience LA

Mark L. Colbenson in performance as L. Frank Baum  at Nakano Theatre