Oz in the News 7.26.15

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Two ‘Munchkins’ actors in ‘Wizard of Oz’ worked at SRP  They were not Munchkin-sized ruby slippers but rather the work shoes the former Savannah River Plant in Aiken County found for two of its employees who were Munchkin actors in the 1939 MGM classic film “The Wizard of Oz.” According to the Savannah River Site’s archives, they were the smallest work shoes the plant had ever ordered. The SRP workers, two “little people” brothers, Eugene and Eulie David of Barnwell, were once part of the Singer Midgets who performed in “The Wizard of Oz.” According to the SRS archives, Eugene portrayed one of the five fiddlers who saw Judy Garland (as Dorothy) and her dog, Toto, off during the “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” sequence. Eulie played one of the soldiers who marched during the “Ding! Dong! The Witch is Dead” sequence. John Fricke, considered the preeminent “Wizard of Oz” and Judy Garland historian, confirms the David brothers’ participation in the movie. “Both of their names appear on MGM’s ‘daily time report’ list of the Munchkin actors,” he said.

Oz in the News 7.25.15

puppet-oz460All-Puppet Wizard of Oz on Tap at National Puppetry Festival  Fans of Avenue Q and Hand to God take note: Puppeteers from 12 nations on five continents and from 40 U.S. states will converge on the campus of the University of Connecticut Aug. 10-16 for the 2015 National Puppetry Festival. Among planned events: a new interpretation of The Wizard of Oz by The Frisch Marionettes of Cincinnati, OH.  Host organization Puppeteers of America chose UConn for this year’s festival to mark the 50th year of the UConn Puppet Arts Program, which was founded by Frank W. Ballard. UConn last hosted the festival in 1970. For a complete schedule of performances and to order tickets, go to the website for the National Puppetry Festival or call (869) 465-4568.

Oz in the News 7.23.15

oz-1Abandoned States: The (Not-So) Abandoned Land of Oz  It’s a rainy, windswept Saturday afternoon, and I find myself staggering out of a wrecked old house on top of a mountain, as though tossed about in a tornado. Floorboards are bent and splintered, and things strewn about with abandon. Swinging open the back door, I go down a stairway and come to a path of yellow bricks winding through some strangely colorful woods. I’m not alone. A girl appears, wearing a blue and white gingham dress with matching blue bows in her hair. There’s a picnic basket on her arm, and inside a scruffy old pup. I look into the woods around us. “You ever seen any animals out here?” “I have, actually,” she responds. “I’ve seen a mountain lion, and a couple of bears.” “Lions and tigers and bears.” I chuckle. “Have you seen a tiger yet?” She’s a ringer for Dorothy, but this isn’t Kansas. We’re on Beech Mountain, in North Carolina. The two of us are standing in what was once a bustling, Wizard of Oz-themed amusement park.

Inside the $1m hunt to bring Dorothy’s stolen ruby slippers home  Word surfaced over the weekend that an anonymous fan has offered to pay up that $1m in exchange for the safe return of Hollywood’s most famous footwear. “At first we sort of wrote it off: ‘Oh great one, a million dollars,’” Feeney said on Monday. “But they were serious about it. It was just hard to believe.”  “It’s had a huge emotional impact on just about everybody that’s seen it the past 76 years,” said Oz historian John Fricke, “and the shoes are magic.” “Whether a crazed, obsessed fan took them for a collection, or someone took them to sell them, they could never display them,” Karen Owens, membership chair for the International Wizard of Oz Club, surmised of the thieves’ current whereabouts. “Why would you take away such a beautiful piece of movie history when you are just going to have to keep them on a shelf or throw them in the trash?”

Oz in the News 7.20.15

oscardiggs-2Original Wizard of Oz Musical: OZ A NEW  This is not the Oz you have or will ever see again, but will be an Oz you shall want to once you see it, and hear it. With a new score and lyrics and original 1903/1904 songs and lyrics by L. Frank Baum, Paul Tietjen, Félix F. Feist, Harry Armstrong, Glen McDonough, Vincent Bryan, Leo Edwards, Louis F. Gottschalk, C J Kasey, R Alister Brown, Michael G, Paolo Angelucci,Evan McPherson, David Kotzebue, Laila Vafaeezade, George Deroshe. Page2Stage Entertainment is putting up a concert this December of the score from the show, after its work shopped staged production last year at the Historic Everett Theatre. The concert will be performed at the Broadway Performance Hall attached to the collage. The company is in talks with bringing in Emma Ridley from Walt Disney’s “Return to Oz” from 1985 who played Ozma, and Maud Gage Baum(?- ed.). The company is also in talks with the Scarecrow, and Dorothy from Indiana who perform at all the Oz festivals and were recently seen in Hollywood for the Anniversary release in 3D of the film. Other actors in the works range from the wizard from Oz the Great and Powerful, and Uncle Jessie from Full House as the Wizard and Baum, along with one of the lead wolves from the Twilight and X Men series. The tour for the show after the concert, starting at the beginning of 2016 is in the works for the Kansas Wamego Theatre attached to the Oz museum, LA, Vegas, Chicago, Seattle, and finally landing in the NYC in time for Tony season.

Oz in the News 7.17.15

Wonderful-Wizard-of-Oz-MangaSeven Seas Announces ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ & ‘The Marvelous Land of Oz’ Manga Release  Seven Seas Entertainment has announced a pretty great looking omnibus release coming up that takes L. Frank Baum’s classic, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz & The Marvelous Land of Oz, and gives it new life in illustrated form with Kriss Sison, who previously illustrated an omnibus edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. The release will be a 400 page collection that will have L. Frank Baum’s original text from the first two books with over one hundred black-and-white full-page and spot illustrations, two full-color spreads, four full-color single-page pin-ups, and an all-new color map of Oz.­ The book is set to release on April 19, 2016 for $14.99 US / $16.99 CAN.

Oz in the News 7.16.15

55a6cac8bc1e4.imageRepublic man creates life-size Tin Man “My grandmother lived in a town nearby known as Gates, and near her home was a gas station where we used to go. A man had made a Tin Man out of old screws, metal and much more. My inspiration and goal to make the Tin Man began after I saw his creation,” Pelehac commented. Pelehac’s Tin Man stands at 6-foot 3 and weighs in around 270 pounds. Learning from experience, and being a former coal miner, Pelehac built the Tin Man out of stainless and regular steel. The face of the Tin Man was torched to form and includes two spoons as eyes. “Not counting all of the time it took me to find the steel, I assembled the Tin Man in about six months finishing in March, “ Pelehac explained.

Bucks pupil has review printed in new edition of classic book  A young bookworm has had her review of a classic story included inside the new edition of the book. Beatriz Poyton, 10, from Chesham, has been chosen as the Oxford Children’s Classics Champion for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and has had her review of the famous story printed in the opening pages of a brand new edition of the book, to be published in August. Oxford University Press ran a competition in February asking children to write a short review of their favourite classic story, and selected ‘Classics Champions’ from the best entries.

Oz in the News 7.15.15

Tarsem-Singh-Emerald-CityTarsem Singh to Direct All 10 Episodes of NBC’s ‘Emerald City’  Tarsem Singh‘s Self/less isn’t getting much love from general audiences or critics at the moment, but thankfully the filmmaker is already preparing a rebound. Singh is set to direct all ten episodes of Emerald City, NBC’s upcoming drama based on The Wizard of Oz. More details on the Tarsem Singh Emerald City project after the jump. Executive producer David Schulner announced the Tarsem Singh Emerald City news on Twitter.

NBC’s Gritty ‘Emerald City’ Adds a Sexy Scarecrow  Following Adria Arjona’s casting as Dorothy (don’t worry, she has a K9 police Toto as well), Deadline reports that Dracula star Oliver Jackson-Cohen will play the role of Lucas, a handsome, mysterious and quick-witted man discovered by Dorothy beaten, bloodied, and moaning on a post outside the ruins of his village. Lucas is apparently the lone survivor of a mass crucifixion (yikes), and remembers neither his past, nor his name. In addition, Ana Ularu will play “West” (read: probably the witch) a madame and unholy ally of the Wizard, while Gerran Howell will play the brave and adventurous Jack. For those unfamiliar, NBC initially announced its Emerald City take on L. Frank Baum’s work to coincide with the classic film’s 75th anniversary, before surprisingly pulling the plug only weeks later. Following the initial “creative differences” with showrunner Josh Friedkin, Emerald City returned with a 10-episode order under The Event producer David Schulner.