Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation to host virtual event around new PBS film about ‘Wizard of Oz’ writer Following the premier the night before of “American Oz,” a new documentary about Central New York native L. Frank Baum, the author of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” the Gage Center will hold a Zoom Q&A with filmmakers Randall MacLowry and Tracy Heater Strain, who together wrote, directed and produced the film for PBS’ “American Experience” series. Tickets to the virtual event cost $25 and can be purchased by calling the Gage Center at 315-637-9511 with a credit card, or directly through their online gift shop at All proceeds will benefit the Gage Foundation. “American Oz” will debut on Monday, April 19 at 9 p.m. on PBS and will be available for streaming at

UW Professors Provide Narration for ‘American Oz’ Program About L. Frank Baum Susan Aronstein and Kent Drummond, both in the UW Department of English, are two of the narrators for this documentary, which explores the life of Baum, best known as the author of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” which was published in 1900. The book spawned the classic 1939 MGM film “The Wizard of Oz” starring Judy Garland, as well as plays and musicals, including 2003’s “Wicked.” The two, along with Terri Rittenburg, a UW professor emeritus of management and marketing, wrote “The Road to Wicked: The Marketing and Consumption of Oz from L. Frank Baum to Broadway,” which was published in 2018. Both Aronstein and Drummond feel it is a great honor to have been chosen to help narrate the episode, and they hope the documentary will lead to a whole new audience for Baum, his works and books about his works. “We’re still not sure how the producers of ‘American Oz’ heard about our book. Of course, in order to write a book about the staying power of Oz, we had to delve into Baum’s life and work,” says Aronstein, a UW professor of English. “And the first several chapters deal directly with him. So, when the opportunity came to convey our research in a new medium, we jumped at the chance. We really enjoyed working with the producers — Randall MacLowry and Rebecca Taylor — and it was fascinating to observe the documentary take shape.”

‘The Munchkin Diary’: Sonoma author recalls her ‘Oz’ days, TV career She’s a former child “Munchkin” who followed her own yellow brick road from Hollywood to Stanford University, a stint with the CIA, a role as a social activist in Oakland and an extraordinary 22-year career in Bay Area television. Bruno, 89, somehow packed those and many other experiences into “The Munchkin Diary,” a rollicking memoir that not only tracks her many adventures, but is testament to her relentless energy and passion for life. “I have never been bored,” insists Bruno, who spends much of her time these days performing and teaching hula. “I’m wholeheartedly, 150 percent into whatever I’m doing. Once in a while when I get into a state of exhaustion, I say to myself: ‘I would like to know what’s like to be bored — to sit on the front porch and swat flies.’”

The Black Rainbow of Oz The sequel to “A Nightmare in Oz” has been released! “The Black Rainbow of Oz,” the much-anticipated follow-up to last year’s first entry into the New Oz Chronicles, is now available for purchase in Paperback and Digital through What is to come of the mischievous Mombi as she ventures through the North securing a host of henchmen on her trek to release the fabled Black Rainbow? What will be the response of Glinda, Ozma, Dorothy and their closest allies as news spreads of the terrible plot? Sides clash in the latest entry to a new series of stories set in present-day Oz, involving all the characters you love (along with some new faces) as they confront that which they hoped never to confront: the threat of very real dangers.

Oz in the News 4.15.21

Watch Scenes From New Korean Production of Wicked The international hit Wicked has opened in Seoul, playing at the Blue Square Theatre until May 2. Following that run, it will move to the Dream Theatre in Busan, with first performance on May 20. With two casts, here are clips from the production.

The first cast features Ock Joo Hyun as Elphaba, Jeong Sun Ah as Glinda, Sea Kyoung Su as Fiyero, Nam Kyoung Joo as the Wizard, and Lee So You as Madame Horrible. The second cast includes Son Seung Yeon as Elphaba, Na Ha Na as Glinda, Jin Tae Hwa as Fiyero, Lee Sang Jun as the Wizard, and Kim Ji Sun as Madame Morrible.

Oz in the News 4.14.21

Tinbots All of EvOz is buzzing with excitement! Everyone is talking about just one thing: after a ten year hiatus, THE EMERALD CITY, the legendary TINBOT factory, is about to begin production again! What’s more, the factory’s owner-inventors, known as WIZARDS, have announced the biggest TINBATTLE competition EvOz has ever seen: THE YELLOW BRICK CHALLENGE! For Dorothy, Leon, and Rusty, this is a dream come true: a chance to prove themselves as well as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the famous Emerald City! Along with their tinbots, OZMA and SCAREBOT, our three heroes will follow the famous Yellow Brick Road, eager to face even the most intimidating adversaries. For the ultimate grand prize is the chance to enter the celebrated factory itself, The Emerald City, and, even more importantly, the opportunity to meet its all-powerful owner-inventors: the mysterious WIZARDS!

Oz in the News 4.13.21

Wicked: Anna Kendrick Responds to Amanda Seyfried’s Idea They Star in Movie E! News asked Kendrick her thoughts on Seyfried’s idea, but she was unable to give a definitive answer. “Oh, these questions are always tricky to answer, to not create a thing,” she said. “I mean, obviously like, Wicked is a masterpiece and a classic and it’s an iconic show and that’s all I’ll say about that.” Kendrick didn’t realize Seyfried had publicly named her in relation to Elphaba’s casting. Kendrick’s full comment: “That’s so funny. I hadn’t heard that, but I, when I met her in real life, she said that to me. So I was like, what are you, eavesdropping on that conversation? I didn’t know that she’d said that…So she didn’t just say it to my face to be nice.”

Oz in the News 4.5.21

American Oz Explore the life and times of author L. Frank Baum, the creator of one of the most beloved, enduring and classic American narratives. By 1900, when The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published, Baum was 44 years old and had spent much of his life in restless pursuit of success. With mixed results he dove into a string of jobs — chicken breeder, actor, marketer of petroleum products, shopkeeper, newspaperman and traveling salesman — Baum continued to reinvent himself, reflecting a uniquely American brand of confidence, imagination and innovation. During his travels to the Great Plains and on to Chicago during the American frontier’s final days, he witnessed a nation coming to terms with the economic uncertainty of the Gilded Age. But he never lost his childlike sense of wonder and eventually crafted his observations into a magical tale of survival, adventure and self-discovery, reinterpreted through the generations in films, books and musicals.

Oz in the News 4.4.21

5 movies that inspired Amazon’s new horror show Them The Wizard of Oz was a huge inspiration even on the first 10 minutes of the pilot. In both cases, it’s a young woman on a farm in a sepia-colored world — more auburn-tinted in our world — who suddenly awakes in a Technicolor world. The first 10 minutes of that was very much inspired by the Wizard of Oz but also by my love of all the old MGM Technicolor musicals.

Oz in the News 4.3.21

Massachusetts is the perfect home for Gregory Maguire, author of “Wicked” During these past few months, COVID has impacted Maguire’s writing schedule. “I didn’t intend to write a book in the year 2020. I had done a book last year, and I keep saying it is time to slow down a little. But COVID kept me from my annual trips to Greece and to France and locked me inside my own habits,” he said. Continuing, “One of my habits is looking out the windows of my imagination as well as of those over my kitchen sink. Before I knew it, by mid-March, I was back to writing fiction—and finished, revised, and sold the book, “The Brides of Maracoor,” which will come out in October 2021.”

Oz in the News 3.31.21

Houston Figure Skating club’s annual carnival to be on DVD The theme for this year’s carnival, held on Mar. 27, was Wizard of the Oz selected by Stephanie Auston, the head coach and the director of skating. “Each year we like to present something different, in the past few years we have done Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast- to name a few. This year, she had decided on The Wizard of Oz- a classic we all know and love,” said Kaszas. However, this year due to the pandemic, the carnival will look completely different. Kaszas explained that putting together a virtual carnival meant hours, upon hours of volunteer work and expressed her gratitude towards Rachel Chapman, or Carnival Chari for dedicating countless hours of hard work. The club also bought a video camera, tripod and all accessories to get a better quality recording for the show. The club has a total of 45 kids and since they wouldn’t have all been allowed in the arena at the same time, the kids were divided into groups. The Carnival was an all-day show and each group was to perform their numbers individually according to their schedule; there were also a few acting scenes in between numbers, and the soloists were also to perform. Once coach Auston has pieced together the show, it will be available on DVD for people to purchase. The club is hoping to have the DVD ready by the first week of April.

Oz in the News 3.30.21

The Radical Feminist Behind the Curtain During an iconic moment in The Wizard of Oz, actor Frank Morgan tells Judy Garland and gang to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Morgan’s charlatan character is just one of Oz’s hidden figures. This Women’s History Month, it’s time to finally pay attention to the woman behind the curtain. The Wizard of Oz film, and the novels that inspired it, were deeply influenced by the ideology of radical feminist Matilda Joslyn Gage. Gage may be best known as the mother-in-law of Oz novelist L. Frank Baum, but more importantly, she was an activist, who would be considered as radical in our day as she was in hers. “[Gage was] the woman who was ahead of the women who were ahead of their time,” Gloria Steinem said in Ms.

Oz in the News 3.23.21

Ronnee Sass Dies: Warner Bros. Publicist Behind Memorable Home Video Campaigns Best known for her contributions to home entertainment, Sass embarked on a career in this space in 1995. After co-founding Wolff, Freed and Greenberg, an independent PR and advertising firm in Baltimore, and doing a stint in film distribution, Sass found her way to Warner Home Video, where she was tasked with publicizing the studio’s extraordinary film library. In the 20 years that followed, Sass proved a key player in anniversary campaigns for many classic Warner Bros. titles, including The Wizard of Oz, Singin’ in the Rain and Blade Runner. Of particular note was a 2004 campaign in recognition of the 65th anniversary of Oz, for which she brought together all of the film’s surviving Munchkins.

Blakeway to explore Hollywood’s “golden year” for C5 Zinc Media Group-owned, UK-based factual prodco Blakeway Productions has scored a two-part commission with Channel 5, exploring a Hollywood heyday from decades past. Across two 90-minute specials, 1939: Hollywood’s Golden Year will feature a cast of family members, friends and experts such as Judy Garland’s daughter Lorna Luft; actor and writer Stephen Fry (pictured); Laurence Olivier’s son Tarquin and director Peter Bogdanovich to celebrate the films of a pivotal year during which such classics as Wuthering Heights, The Wizard of Oz and Gone With The Wind were made. Daniel Pearl, VP, commissioning editor for Channel 5, said in a statement: “This show will take an in-depth look at one of the most glamorous times in Hollywood which I know our viewers are going to love. With never-before-seen footage and interviews with the people who knew them best, it will reveal some of the best kept secrets of Tinsel town’s most famous icons.”