Oz in the News 10.24.20

‘Wicked’ Movie: Kristin Chenoweth Champions the Adaptation: “I Want It up on the Screens” “First of all, as a kid growing up in Oklahoma, I couldn’t get to Broadway. We couldn’t afford that. So I relied on television and books, and occasionally a tour that might come through Tulsa. So why not make it a movie and let this Me Too movement, which we were doing before the Me Too movement – Wicked has the themes I like in a show. It has the themes of friendship, forgiveness and love, and between two women. The love is really between them two, and that’s what I want up on that camera. I want it up on the screens, I want it on television so that people who can’t afford to go see the show can watch it.”

Oz in the News 10.23.20

“Marionette Land” is a feature length documentary about Robert Brock and his magical marionette theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. For 30 years Robert Brock has entertained families with his creative and unique one-man marionette productions of classics like Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan. Brock also produces grown-up shows where he performs as famous divas like Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, and Carol Channing. Robert lives above his puppet theatre with his mom and business partner, Mary Lou, and he must now face new challenges as he enters the self-proclaimed third act of his life. This film goes into his unique and disciplined creative process from making puppets to preparing for shows, Robert Brock does it all… even tap dancing.


Oz in the News 10.22.20

Stephen Daldry Exits ‘Wicked’ Movie as Director The movie musical adaptation of Wicked is looking to take flight, but director Stephen Daldry won’t be along for the ride. A source tells THR that Daldry, who has long been attached to the movie, had to exit the project after the production timeline was adjusted and he was unable to commit to the new schedule. The exit was amicable and a search is underway for a new director. Wicked was set for a Dec. 22, 2021, release but was moved off of the Universal calendar following the COVID-19 theatrical and production shutdown. The movie has yet to receive another release date.

Oz in the News 10.17.20

The Producers Behind Veep and the Game of Thrones Prequel Have a New Podcast next Thursday, the pair is launching The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of, a 12-episode podcast series distributed by Rooster Teeth that’s set to go deep into the world of Hollywood collectibles — one that’s fascinating, rich in history, and comes with its own seedy underground. “We were actually just working on the cut of an episode about this wonderful book that’s kind of a rite of passage for everybody that gets into collecting. It’s called The Ruby Slippers of Oz, written in the late ’80s by a journalist from the Los Angeles Times, Rhys Thomas. He had started out, as a lot of these books do, writing an article about what happened to the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz and then just fell down this rabbit hole. It’s a pretty old story by now, because Rhys was writing in the late ’80s about guys in the late ’60s and early ’70s, when Wizard of Oz was newly popular again because it was being televised on CBS, but the story he found was just too bizarre to be fiction. He went in with the hope of uncovering the mystery of the ruby slippers: Where there more than one pair? Where were they? Who had them all? And he quickly learned that everything came back to this one guy, Kent Warner, who is kind of an icon in our field. He was really the original collector. Kent was a costumer who worked in Hollywood, and he went into all these studios and found all this stuff being thrown out or not being cared for. So he took them out of the dumpster, saved them, and preserved them. It’s a fantastic story, and we’ve been trying to have lunch with Rhys for, like, eight years, but it never came together, and now, with this podcast, we were able to coax him out, and he spoke to us for two hours. We were able to get a wonderful interview with him.”

Oz in the News 10.14.20

Warner Bros. is making an animated Toto musical Forget Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocket Man, it’s time to bless the rains with an animated movie musical about Toto, Dorothy’s adorable little dog from The Wizard Of Oz. Deadline says the project—which has not officially been announced, for the record—will be directed by Mozart In The Jungle co-creator Alex Timbers and “loosely based” on the book Toto: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story Of The Wizard of Oz by Michael Morpurgo and Emma Chichester Clark. If we had to guess, that means it’ll have nothing to do with the book beyond the idea of re-telling The Wizard Of Oz from the dog’s perspective, but we’ll have to wait for Warner Bros. to make some announcements before we know for sure.

Oz in the News 10.6.20

Wicked Cast Reminds Fans to Vote with Reimagined Lyrics in New Video: ‘You Can Change Things’ In a new video, which PEOPLE can exclusively share, the entire cast of Wicked comes together (virtually) to remind fans to cast their ballot this November — and it features cameos from Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel! “I’m all mixelated up!” sings Brittney Johnson, the first-ever Black actress to play Wicked‘s Glinda, in the music video. “I really want to vote but it’s confusifying me.” The nearly-four minute video features appearances from some of the musical’s biggest stars including Alexandra Billings, Lindsay Pearce, Jennafer Newberry and Konrad Adderley.

Oz in the News 9.28.20

The Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy Lands on SINoALICE’s Global Servers The dark storybook mobile game overseen by Yoko Taro brings new versions of classic characters to The Library: a world of nightmares and grand battles, where fictional heroes fight for the right to resurrect their authors. Appearing so far in the game have been famous characters including Snow White, Cinderella, the Little Mermaid, and the recently-added Three Little Pigs. This version of Dorothy, voiced by Rie Takahashi (Megumin in KONOSUBA), is especially curious and into research. As for her plans for her author? It seems the tornado-riding heroine has plans to put L. Frank Baum’s brain in a jar…

Experience Oztober at state museum This “OZtober” the South Carolina State Museum will once again invite guests to enjoy a month of exciting OZ themed shows and activities. From daily showings of “The Wizard of Oz 4-D ExperiencE” to exciting planetarium shows and virtual programs, “OZtober” offers families the perfect destination for Halloween fun both on site and online. Plus, the giant 30-foot long x 12-foot high witch’s legs will return outside the museum’s entrance and the planetarium dome will once again ‘glow’ like a jack-o-lantern after dark each night. “Our Oz themed shows and activities are always very popular with families during Halloween,” said State Museum Public Programs Manager, Lydia Salais. “We have revised our usual plans to incorporate health and safety measures and, with our spacious building and exhibit galleries, we are able to offer guests a location to enjoy socially distant fun with friends and family.” The State Museum will have health and safety precautions in place, including managing capacities in the museum’s galleries, planetarium and 4-D theater to facilitate social distancing, as well as frequent cleaning throughout the building and between shows. Per Governor McMaster’s executive order, guests aged 3 and above are required to wear a face covering while visiting state buildings.

Oz in the News 9.24.20

Oz Munchkin ‘by marriage’ celebrates century birthday Mary Ellen St. Aubin still lives in Chicago and celebrated her 100th birthday Sept. 21. Still spry and active, St. Aubin (as I reported a year ago) at age 99, trekked to Lowell, to greet fans and guests of all ages as a special guest star at an October 2019 weekend “Wizard of Oz” mini festival at Harvest Tyme Park and Pumpkin Patch. During the decades before the annual Wizard of Oz Festival in Chesterton disbanded in 2012, Mary Ellen St. Aubin was one of the favorite “little people,” who would travel to Northwest Indiana each year to greet fans. Mary Ellen enjoyed her birthday this week at her Chicago home, where she is cared for by her personal assistant Christine Lascody. Mary Ellen received well wishes and birthday greetings from around the world via social media.

Oz in the News 9.14.20

5 Midwest Cities Where You Can Discover ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ There’s no place like home — unless it’s one of the Wizard of Oz-related attractions in the Midwest. Written by L. Frank Baum and published in 1900, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was based on stories Baum told his children and continues to resonate with the public. And the film version of The Wizard of Oz has been a favorite with kids of all ages since it premiered in 1939. A visit to the Land of Oz is every fan’s dream, and these five Midwestern cities can help make that dream a reality.

Oz in the News 9.9.20

Wicked’ star headlines Kravis Center’s socially distanced video of ‘Over the Rainbow’ Talia Suskauer, who plays Elphaba in the tour scheduled to visit the Kravis Center in February, had a chance to put her stamp on the song in the Kravis Center’s remotely produced video of the song. The video highlights Suskauer and features 44 other singers and instrumentalists. You can watch it for free at kravis.org/athome/. Michael Feinstein, impresario of the Kravis Center’s pops orchestra series, introduces the video. Suskauer begins the song with its less familiar opening verse. Then members of the Young Singers of the Palm Beaches, The Broadway Artists Intensive, DeGeorge Academy for Performing Arts, Dreyfoos School of the Arts alumni and members of the Kravis Center Pops Orchestra chime in.