Oz in the News 9.25.18

No place like home: Festival transforms Tinley Park facility into Oz As Dorothy is offering her farewells to her new friends toward the end of the film “The Wizard of Oz,” she tells the Scarecrow, “I’ll miss you the most.” “No, you won’t,” Jane Lahr said Saturday during the 37th Annual Wizard of Oz Fest in Tinley Park. “You’ll miss the Lion.” Of course, Lahr’s opinion may have been biased. She’s the daughter of Bert Lahr, who played the Cowardly Lion in the 1939 film. She said her father had a low opinion of one of his co-stars, Ray Bolger, who played the Scarecrow, calling him a “ham.” With TV rebroadcasts several times a year the “Wizard of Oz” film still generates a lot of fans and thousands of them visited Odyssey Fun Farm, site of this year’s fest. “Some people think they show (the movie) too much. I don’t think so,” said Karen Owens, who sells Wizard of Oz collectibles and was one of several vendors at the festival. “There’s nothing greater than a young child seeing the ‘Wizard of Oz’ for the first time and still falling in love with it,” Owens said.

Oz in the News 9.24.18

Return to Oz Producer Gary Kurtz Dies at 78 It is with great sadness that ComingSoon.net must report that film producer Gary Kurtz, one of the major forces in the creation of Star Wars, has passed away at age 78 from cancer. Kurtz’s post-Star Wars career saw him continuing in the fantasy realm, producing Jim Henson and Frank Oz’s ambitious all-puppet 1982 epic The Dark Crystal, which did middling business but is now considered a classic and is currently getting a Netflix series follow up. He also produced Return to Oz, a dark take on L. Frank Baum’s creation that failed at the 1985 box office.

Oz in the News 9.18.18

Oz in the News 9.13.18

Scraps is the latest work to feed our ongoing Oz obsession With 14 books, a handful of plays, and even a comic strip on the beings and doings of the magical land of Oz, you would think L. Frank Baum, its self-styled Royal Historian, had adequately expounded upon the adventures of the quirky folk of a more colorful universe. However, our hunger for a more fabulous reality being insatiable, many others have taken up the task since Baum’s death 99 years ago, producing dozens more books, and, of course, Wicked and The Wiz. The latest in this unstoppable efflorescence of fanfic is Anthony Whitaker’s Scraps, premiering at the Den under the direction of Jamal Howard. A ragdoll sewn from a superfluous quilt and brought to life with magic powder, Scraps (Brittney Brown) doesn’t eat, can’t sleep, and uses her exquisite brain for maintaining a routine that doesn’t offend the local Munchkins. Made-up dreams and undrunk cups of tea seem her only destiny until a timely chat with the Tin Man teaches her that all the best things in life are pretend. Off she sets on a journey to Enlightenment (er, the Emerald City), where she hobnobs with the upper class: Dorothy and Ozma, Ojo the Unlucky, Betsy Bobbin, and more, each bitchier than the canonical stories would have you believe.

Kermit to Play the Wizard of Oz in a Pasadena Panto Would one of pop culture’s most emerald icons, a certain Mr. the Frog, be at home in the Emerald City? Fans will find out, from Dec. 14 through 30, 2018, when Kermit takes the role of the great and powerful Wizard of Oz in the Lythgoe Family Panto’s annual holiday stage spectacular, an end-of-the-year Pasadena tradition. This isn’t a presentation fully cast with Muppets, but rather humans, making the felt fellow’s presence as the musical’s title character even quirkier and more endearing. But the musical’s quirkiness continues beyond the casting of Kermit, for while this production is “… in the style of a traditional British panto,” audience members should prepare for “… family-friendly magic, with a comedic twist, dancing (“So You Think You Can Dance” alumni), contemporary music and more.”

Oz in the News 9.10.18

How the Smithsonian Helped Sleuth Out the True Identity of a Pair of Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers Dawn Wallace and Richard Barden stood in the museum’s objects conservation lab looking over two shoes. Red. Sequin-covered. Small heels. Petite in size. Wallace, an objects conservator, had recently spent more than 200 hours examining the museum’s long-cherished pair of Ruby Slippers, worn by Judy Garland while filming the iconic 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz. Barden, the museum’s chief conservator, had spent decades with the collections, including the sparkling shoes that are slated to go back on view in a new showcase display on October 19, 2018. Those shoes, now fully conserved thanks to the support of 6,000 Kickstarter backers who funded their preservation, were safely stored elsewhere in the museum. The shoes that sat before Wallace and Barden had been delivered by FBI agents for examination, and could be the key to a 13-year-old mystery. “Wow, I think these are the real thing,” Wallace thought.

 

 

Oz in the News 9.4.18

Stolen Ruby Slippers From ‘Wizard of Oz’ Are Recovered: FBI There’s no place like home — even for a pair of shoes. A pair of the iconic ruby slippers from the 1939 “Wizard of Oz” film have been recovered after they had been missing for more than a decade, the FBI announced Tuesday morning. The shoes are one of several pairs worn by Judy Garland, who played Dorothy Gale in the classic film. This pair was stolen in 2005 from the Judy Garland Museum in Minnesota. The FBI is holding a news conference Tuesday afternoon to offer more details on the recovery of the slippers.

Oz in the News 9.1.18

‘Wicked’ Movie Delayed It looks like fans will have to wait a bit longer for Wicked to hit the big screen, but at least they’ll get a suitable replacement in Cats. Universal Pictures and Working Title are set to release the big screen adaptation of Cats on December 20th, but unfortunately, that means that the big screen version of Wicked will now be delayed. Wicked was originally slated for that date, and no replacement release date was given by the studio (via Variety). The much-anticipated film will adapt the hugely successful 2003 Broadway musical, which itself is based on Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. The novel explores the Wicked Witch’s side of events seen in the Wizard of Oz and shows how she came to be known as the Wicked Witch. It isn’t as clear-cut as you might expect, and before they were enemies Elphaba and Glinda formed a unique and genuine friendship.