Oz in the News 2.13.16


Tapping Through Oz  At a Yale Taps show, sight and sound combine to create a lighthearted display. Against an ethereal, multicolored background, the tappers play with silhouette and let their feet loose. Their 21st annual show, “The Tappers of Oz,” consists of a mix of dance vignettes and an interspersed storyline based around the quintessential tale of misfits following the yellow brick road. Upon encountering the Wizard-turned-DJ Action, the dancers engaged with the audience by asking them to identify songs they tapped out with their feet. Those who guessed correctly received a candy treat. With each correct guess, Dorothy and her crew got one tap closer to getting home to Toad’s. The finale hit the audience full force with sounds and visuals; the soundtrack consisted of a mashup of songs from “The Wiz,” “The Wizard of Oz,” and “Wicked.” The entire company, separated into different groups by costume, came onstage in a whirlwind of cloth and tapping feet. Their smiles, especially those of the beginners, lit up the room.

BONUS: More Than Brains – University of Phoenix HD Commercial

Oz in the News 2.9.16

the-woodsmanOff Broadway Review: Oz Backstory ‘The Woodsman’  Although most of the show is in wordless puppet-speak, a narrator (Ortiz, who owns this show) addresses the audience long enough to put the story in perspective. The wicked witch who rules over the eastern provinces of Oz, he informs us, has made a sad and sorry place of her kingdom. The woods are inhabited by monsters, the witch’s spies are everywhere, and people are afraid to speak their thoughts out loud. Words have literally become dangerous in the kingdom, so everyone stops talking and now communicate in non-verbal grunts, groans, squeaks, squeals and whistles. They laugh, they cry, they clap their hands, and make all kinds of weird noises — but they truly do not speak. The only other sound is the expressive but rather hectic violin playing of musician Naomi Florin. The music is not unpleasant, just relentless.

“The Woodsman,” Inspired by L. Frank Baum’s Tin Man, Returns to New York  We get to know Nick’s parents, a humble woodsman and his wife. Early scenes depict “Pa,” with exaggerated animation, teaching his coltish son to chop wood. Meanwhile, even further to the east, a barefoot slave is imprisoned by the wicked witch. The beautiful Nimmee dreams of and eventually manages escape from her captor. The fated young adults meet, but the witch thwarts their union by somehow possessing Nick’s trusted ax. In a sequence of disturbing scenes, the hatchet turns against its owner. Each time, a gaggle of “Tinkers” fastens artificial limbs onto the wounded boy, until eventually he’s made entirely of metal. Nimmee is still capable of loving Nick, but can Nick do the same, now that he’s lost his heart?

Backstage Life With James Ortiz of ‘The Woodsman’  “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” has continued to provide endless fascination since L. Frank Baum first published it in 1900. Off-Broadway’s “The Woodsman” tells the story of how the Tin Man lost his heart long before he ever met Dorothy. Creator, designer, and puppeteer James Ortiz takes us behind the scenes of this enchanting show.

BONUS: Michael Bay’s “Wizard of Oz”

Oz in the News 2.7.16

Hologram Musical ‘School OZ’ One Day One Chance Music Video

Oz in the News 2.5.16


“Ruth Plumly Me!” – The Most Prolific Royal Historian Of Oz  We never met, although l lived a short two-hour train ride away from her suburban Philadelphia home for the last eighteen months or so of her life. But my pleasure this week in revisiting her talent led me to dig through a filing cabinet and pull out the dozen or so letters and cards she sent in response to my pre-teen, teenage, and young adult fervor in the years between 1963 and 1975. Her comments alternate between light and airy, encouraging and reflective, complimentary and delighted – and cover topics ranging from her ongoing plethora of mail from Oz fans (guilty as charged here…), to her new apartment (“a prize; biggest bonus: air conditioning, and another plus: the swimming pool”), the weather (“March – thank Pete – is gone – not much snow but fifty and sixty mile gusts that nearly blew me over the swimming pool”), her attendance at her first Oz Club Convention and her quiet gratification at being honored with the Club’s L. Frank Baum Memorial Award (“…medal now hanging high. l should say plaque, a really handsome piece”), and her pride in niece Dottie’s “two young children[:] Doug now 3 ½ and Debbie 8 mos. Keep things pretty lively.”

Oz in the News 2.3.16

111018The Woodsman Returns to New York at New World Stages  The Woodsman, a drama inspired by the backstory of L. Frank Baum’s famous Tin Man character, is now in performances at New World Stages. Written by James Ortiz and directed by Ortiz and Claire Karpen, the play, which features music by Edward W. Hardy and lyrics by Jennifer Loring, tells the story of the lonely Tin Woodsman of Oz, who must embark on a journey to protect the love of his life from the evil Wicked Witch of the East.

Mark Curry to join the cast of Wicked as The Wizard  WICKED, the West End musical phenomenon that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, has announced that the actor and presenter Mark Curry will play The Wizard from 25th March 2016 at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. Tom McGowan will play his final performance as The Wizard on 12 thMarch 2016. From 14th-24th March 2016, the role will be played by Sean Kearns. Mark Curry has enjoyed a long and successful career as both an actor and popular television and radio presenter. He is still best remembered by many for Blue Peter, which he co-hosted alongside Caron Keating and Yvette Fielding from 1986 to 1990. His many recent theatre appearances include: ‘Dr. Armstrong’ and subsequently ‘Rogers’ in Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None (UK Tour); ‘Richard Willey MP’ in Ray Cooney’s Out of Order (The Mill at Sonning); ‘Andre Cassell’ in Victor/Victoria (Southwark Playhouse); ‘Larry’ in Company (Southwark Playhouse); ‘The Narrator’ in The Rocky Horror Show (UK Tour) and ‘The Compere’ in Victoria Wood’s Talent (Menier Chocolate Factory).

Oz in the News 1.20.16


Soundtrack To SM Entertainment Hologram Musical ‘School OZ’ South Korean powerhouse record label SM Entertainment recently hit it big with their latest K-pop attraction, and fans will soon be able to hear the soundtrack from the comfort of their own homes. The company’s original hologram musical School Oz, premiered a year ago and an 18-track soundtrack featuring some of SM Entertainment’s biggest acts is set to hit store shelves on Wednesday. School Oz is an original creation from SM Entertainment that uses special effects to create a performance that is somewhere between a movie and a live play. In this K-pop-infused retelling of The Wizard of Oz, Red Velvet’s Seulgi, who plays Dorothy, goes missing and a brave knight is needed to save the kingdom of Oz from evil.


Oz in the News 1.18.16


Judy Garland’s Dakota residence asks $16.7M  A nine-room apartment at the Dakota is back on the market following a thorough redesign — and it just may have a celebrity connection.  The 4,700-square-foot apartment belonged to the late Jacqueline Bikoff, a “pianist and ballerina of Iranian descent who was a fixture on the Studio 54 scene,” according to the New York Observer. But before Bikoff moved in and hired her 25-year-old daughter, Sasha Bikoff, to give the apartment a slightly quirky makeover, it belonged to none other than Judy Garland, according to the New York Times.

©RGeroni_TheFilmsofJudyGarland_WOZ_FinalThe Films of Judy Garland  My love for classic films inspired me to design and letter a series of retro title cards. I will be creating works inspired by my favorite films, their titles, and the promotional ephemera created for them. The pieces will be 4×3 like most of their original aspect ratios. I am beginning the project with a series of titles from films starring my favorite actress, Judy Garland, that most movie fans would associate with her: The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St. Louis, and A Star is Born. I will then be starting from the very beginning of her film career in 1936 and continuing chronologically until her final film that she completed in 1963. At the end of the project, I hope to have a poster printed (or available to have printed) at the original one-sheet movie poster size (27” x 41”). I also hope to continue the series, focusing on other actors, genres and movements, and perhaps create informative, themed film posters!