Oz in the News 12.14.17

Ernie Harburg and Deena Rosenberg Will Celebrate the Music and Politics of Yip Harburg E.Y. “Yip” Harburg, lyricist of Finian’s Rainbow, the classic The Wizard of Oz film, and many more shows and movies, will be celebrated in a noon concert December 14 at the 92nd Street YM-YWHA (92Y) in New York City. Hosted and performed by cabaret singer Harvey Granat with accompaniment from pianist David Lahm, the concert will also examine the politics of Harburg (1896–1981), a leftist who spent time on the Hollywood blacklist, whose songbook also includes hits like “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime” and “It’s Only a Paper Moon.” Harburg’s “Over the Rainbow” (written with composer Harold Arlen) was listed as number one on the Songs of the 20th Century list compiled by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts. Special guests at the concert include Ernie Harburg, the lyricist’s son, and his wife Deena Rosenberg, cultural and music historian, author of Fascinating Rhythm: The Collaboration of George and Ira Gershwin, and founding chair of the musical theatre program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. 92Y is located on Lexington Avenue between 91st and 92nd streets in Manhattan. Tickets for The Lyrics of Yip Harburg concert cost $29, and can be ordered by clicking here.


Oz in the News 12.7.17

Local music teacher to host launch event for new children’s book Randy L. Schmidt, a music teacher at Adkins Elementary School in Lantana, has written his first children’s book, “Becoming Judy Garland,” a biography he has dedicated to the students of Adkins Elementary. The book explores the early life and career of Garland — originally named Frances Gumm — as she went from vaudeville to movie stardom to the “role of a lifetime” in “The Wizard of Oz,” according to a news release. “I wrote this book because I feel Judy Garland is still relevant to children, even after all these years,” Schmidt said in a prepared statement. “The timeless appeal of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ speaks to today’s kids in the same way it has for nearly 80 years. The Library of Congress says it’s ‘the most watched film ever,’ so most kids know Dorothy’s story, but not necessarily Judy’s. This book brings her extraordinary talent to life again for a new audience of adoring fans.” All Adkins students, their families and the community are invited to the upcoming book dedication and launch party, where Schmidt will read from his book and discuss his love of reading, research and writing. The event is scheduled for Dec. 18 at 6 p.m. in the Adkins Library Learning Center. For more information about Schmidt and his books, click here.

Oz in the News 12.6.17

Take A Walk In The Land Of Ozz With Inbet Games Omni-channel gaming software provider InBet Games has confirmed the launch of Land of Ozz, a new slot game based on a famous American children’s tale. Land of Ozz players will experience a journey to the Emerald City with all the main characters from the book including Dorothy and Toto, along with the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Winged Monkey, Glinda the Good Witch of the South and the Wicked Witch of the West. Each character is worth a certain amount of points. For example, three symbols of the Scarecrow are worth just two points, whereas five symbols of the Good Witch are worth the highest 750 points. Pavel Korolev, Business Development Director for InBet Games, commented: “Land of Ozz is an enthralling new addition to the InBet portfolio, and one that is bound to drive high player engagement.”

Behind the Curtain: Previewing Oscar Diggs Oscar Diggs, a highly anticipated new restaurant located at 155 N. Limestone in Lexington, is on track to open shortly after the new year, with a projected opening date of January 3, according to owners Ralph and Donna Quillin. The Quillins, owner/operators of Rooster Brewing in Paris, Kentucky, teamed up with Andrew Suthers and Kyle Klatka, owners of The Gastro Gnomes food truck, on the venture. The space, former longtime home to Merit Furniture, is being renovated to feature an open kitchen, as well as a new bar, fireplace, industrial pulley lighting and a new front facade that will allow for seasonal patio seating. The rotating menu will feature burgers as a cornerstone item, with beers from Rooster Brewing and other offerings. And about that name? Oscar Diggs is a fictional character in author L. Frank Baum’s Land of Oz series. Most people know him better as The Wizard of Oz.


Oz in the News 12.1.17

WBHE Brings ‘Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz’ Home in March Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s series Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz: We’re not in Kansas Anymore – Season One, Vol. One will be available March 27, 2018 on DVD. The disc will retail for $14.97 and feature 10 episodes of the series. The series also will be available March 12 on Digital HD. Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz: We’re not in Kansas Anymore – Season One, Vol. One centers on the adventures of Dorothy after she and her friends defeat the Wicked Witch of the West. Packed with memorable melodies, iconic Oz imagery (and of course her Ruby Slippers) that are sure to delight fans of the beloved children’s book series by L. Frank Baum and the classic film The Wizard of Oz, the series follows Dorothy after she’s named Princess of Emerald City by Queen Ozma. Dorothy embraces her royal duties with enthusiasm, bravery and farm-girl feistiness. Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz is produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Sam Register (Teen Titans Go!) serves as executive producer with Jeff DeGrandis (Dora the Explorer) as producer. Voice cast includes Kari Wahlgren (Bunnicula) as Dorothy and Queen Ozma, Jess Harnell (Animaniacs) as Lion, JP Karliak (New Looney Tunes) as Tin Man, Bill Fagerbakke (SpongeBob SquarePants) as Scarecrow and Jessica DiCicco (DC Super Hero Girls) as Wilhelmina.

Oz in the News 11.28.17

Basha: Dancing Down the Yellow Brick Road Basha’s father worked with a man named Joe who was married to one of the little people from the Wizard of Oz. (In fact it was Joe’s wife who taught Basha the Mexican Hat Dance!) When Basha met them she was in her teens and had her first real break through on the glories of the Wizard of Oz. Now the Wizard of Oz has encompassed every part of her life. She is close, personal friends with a number of the little people. Clarence Swensen (a soldier); Carl Slover (a trumpeter); Jerry Marlin (a lollipop kid); Margaret Pellegrini (one of the flower pot’s that opened to reveal a “sleepy head”); Raabe Meinhart (the coroner) and Donna Steward Hardway (one of the few child-actors that played a munchkin) are among her many Wizard of Oz character friends. Basha’s home is loaded with authentic and fabulous Wizard of Oz collectibles.

‘The Wizard of Oz’ to return to Syracuse Stage after almost 15 years Dorothy, the Wicked Witch of the West and the magical kingdom of Oz will call Syracuse Stage home for the holidays. The production of “The Wizard of Oz” opens on Friday at 8 p.m. at the Syracuse Stage/SU Drama Complex, located on the corner of East Genesee Street and Irving Avenue, and will run until Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. “I am staying more true to L. Frank Baum’s original intentions,” Donna Drake said. “The only thing that is a little bit reimagined about this production is that we are bringing in a lot of circus and aerial arts and groundwork into this production. So, it will be quite a spectacle to see.” A lecture on Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. will feature two-time Emmy winner John Fricke, who, Whelan said, is known as the “world’s preeminent ‘Wizard of Oz’ and Judy Garland historian and author.” The lecture will also feature panels by the Onondaga Historical Association.

Australian theatre star Jemma Rix to star in new Wizard of Oz After stunning audiences in her role as Elphaba in Wicked, Jemma Rix now steals the stage as the Wicked Witch from the West in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of The Wizard of Oz. She joins 4BC’s Ray Hadley in the studio to discuss her role and how she maintains her vocal health performing in such intense productions.

Oz in the News 11.24.17

Life of ‘Over the Rainbow’ lyricist to be celebrated  E.Y. “Yip” Harburg was an unsung hero whose songs we’ve always sung. His name may not be familiar, but the many songs of Edgar Yipsel Harburg certainly are: “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” “April in Paris,” “Brother, Can you Spare a Dime,” and what is perhaps the most beloved tune of the 20th century, “Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz.” He won an Academy Award for “Over the Rainbow,” yet his name has virtually been forgotten. To help reintroduce Harburg’s work and legacy to a new generation, a free public program entitled “The Song You Know, The Man You Don’t: An Evening of Stories and Songs Celebrating Yip Harburg,”  will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 in the Sunflower Financial Theatre at Salina Community Theatre. The program will be hosted by Ryan Jay, a nationally syndicated film critic and “Wizard of Oz” historian who has produced everything from “The Jerry Springer Show” to entertainment specials on Bravo, Showtime, Nickelodeon and MTV. Also on hand will be Harburg’s great-grandsons, musician David Harburg and producer Aaron Harburg, who will tell stories of their great-grandfather’s life and perform several of his classic songs. 

Oz in the News 11.9.17

Run Through the Wonderful World of Oz in Run, Dorothy, Run! Virtro Entertainment has announced today that their upcoming “rhythm runner” for the PSVR, Run, Dorothy, Run!, is releasing on December 12. For those that might not have caught on, the game does star Dorothy and takes place in the fantasy world of The Wizard of Oz. Over at the PlayStation Blog, Jordan Bright – one of the Founders of Virtro Entertainment – discussed some of the game, in which you play as Dorothy, the girl from Kansas who ends up in Oz. The game, which is billed as a “rhythm runner,” is set around you having to run around and pick up the Wizard’s things, as the Wicked Witch of the West has stolen them. To help you along on your quest, the Wizard has granted you magical shoes which allow her to always run, and the game features an electro-swing beat that should keep you wanting to move as often as possible. Run, Dorothy, Run! launches first on PSVR on December 12.