Oz in the News 2.19.18

‘Wazir of Oz’ enchants and ensnares with a new twist on a classic tale Alumna Susan Gayle Todd is bringing the bedtime stories her husband told their children to life on stage. Written by Todd, “The Wazir of Oz” takes the classic narrative of “The Wizard of Oz,” and gives the production a Bollywood spin. “The Wazir of Oz,” is a collaborative effort between Todd and Austin-based Bollywood cover band Sacred Cowgirls. Pauravi Rana, the band’s keyboardist, said the music used for shows such as this one is taken from older Bollywood music and made appropriate for children’s theater. “The show feels a little bit like a musical, people are breaking out into dance and sometimes into song,” Rana said. “They sing for one of them from the stage, which is a real feat. We don’t play the whole time, but we try to reflect the mood of what’s going on with some of the pieces.” The cast of “The Wazir of Oz” is a South Asian majority. Todd said this was done to give the story authenticity, as well as provide an opportunity for children to learn about a culture they may not have been exposed to. The play also provides an opportunity for parents with Indian heritage to see themselves represented on stage, said Minnie Homchowdhury, who plays Pratima, the stone woman who believes herself heartless. Her role is analogous to the tin man in the original “Wizard of Oz,” whose only wish in the world is to have a heart.

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Oz in the News 2.17.18

Run, Dorothy, Run! Launching for PSVR Next Week Virtro Entertainment has announced today that their upcoming “rhythm runner” for the PSVR, Run, Dorothy, Run!, will be releasing for PlayStation VR on February 20, 2018. For those that might not have caught on, the game does star Dorothy and takes place in the fantasy world of The Wizard of Oz, in which you play as Dorothy, the girl from Kansas who ends up in Oz. Billed as a “rhythm runner,” is set around you having to run around and pick up the Wizard’s things, as the Wicked Witch of the West has stolen them. To help you along on your quest throughout the game, the Wizard has granted you magical shoes which allow her to always run, and the game features an electro-swing beat that should keep you wanting to move as often as possible.

St. William’s Lenten series follows ‘Wizard of Oz’ theme A three-day Lenten Mission series at St. William Parish will look at the characters and aspects in the “Wizard of Oz” to show how the story relates spiritual journeys from Lent through Easter. The Rev. Michael D. Balash, pastor, said the Lenten Mission “Finding Hope: Reflections from the Wizard of Oz” will be held 6:30 to 8 p.m. Feb. 25 and 7 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 26 and 27. It will be offered by Friar Johnpaul Cafier of the Holy Evangelists Franciscan Friary in Chicago. Balash said the friar and his family are also the largest curators of Wizard of Oz memorabilia in the United States, with more than 25,000 items. The events are open to the public. For information, call 330-847-8677 or visit www.stwilliamchampion.org.

Oz in the News 2.16.18

‘Judy’: Finn Wittrock, Jessie Buckley Join Garland Biopic Led By Renée Zellweger American Horror Story’s Finn Wittrock has been set to play Mickey Deans, the fifth husband of Judy Garland, in Judy, the true story of the singer and actress’ final concerts in London. Also joining the cast s Beast‘s Jessie Buckley as Rosalyn Wilder, the production assistant who looked after Garland during those performances. Renee Zellweger is playing the legendary singer/actress. From Pathe and Calamity Films, Judy will be helmed by British stage director and Tony nominee Rupert Goold. The film is based on a script written by Tom Edge (The Crown) and will be produced by BAFTA winner David Livingstone (Pride) for Calamity. Pathé will distribute Judy in the UK, France and Switzerland and is handling sales throughout the rest of the world. It will screen footage for buyers in Cannes after shooting March-May. Set in winter 1968, the story takes place 30 years after Garland played the iconic role of Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz. When she arrives in Swinging London to prepare for a sell-out run at The Talk of the Town, she battles with management, charms musicians and reminisces with friends and adoring fans. Even her dreams of romance seem undimmed as she embarks on a courtship with Deans. And yet Garland is fragile. After working for 45 of her 47 years, she is exhausted; haunted by memories of a childhood lost to Hollywood and gripped by a desire to be back home with her kids. The film will feature some of Garland’s best-known songs, celebrating her voice, capacity for love and the pizzazz of “the world’s greatest entertainer.” Zellweger notably showed off her pipes in 2002 musical Chicago, for which she was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar.

‘Cabaret’ costume among vast Liza Minnelli collection for auction Liza Minnelli’s signature “Cabaret” bowler hat, boots and halter top vest is going up for auction in a sale of more than 1,000 lots belonging to the singer, her mother Judy Garland and movie director father Vincente Minnelli. California auction house Profiles in History announced on Wednesday that the “Love, Liza” auction in May, the first from Minnelli’s vast personal collection, would also include her 1971 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow as well as her hand-annotated shooting script for “Cabaret.” The Judy Garland memorabilia includes an MGM studio paycheck that was issued when she was 13, before she appeared in her first film, along with a green tramp clown tailcoat she wore for a 1956 photograph by Richard Avedon.

Oz in the News 2.13.18

Wizard of Oz movie party is coming to El Paso Alamo Drafthouse Wizard of Oz, the classic 1930’s film that follows Dorothy through her adventures in the mystical land of Oz will be screened at El Paso’s Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on Friday, March 2 at 7 pm. The movie is considered to be one of the greatest films in cinema history. It’s a local favorite that draws large crows at screenings around El Paso. Alamo Drafthouse invites everyone to their movie party, which will have special movie props, Wizard of Oz-themed contests, and even an Emerald City cocktail. Alamo Drafthouse also offers free refills on popcorn and soft drinks, although you’ll probably enjoy yourself a bit more sipping on that Emerald City cocktail, or any of their delicious drinks for that matter. Everyone 18 and up is welcome. Children 6 and up may attend with an adult. No one under 6 years of age will be allowed. Tickets to the Wizard of Oz screening are $12.99 per person and may be purchased here.

Oz in the News 2.8.18

Review: THE PHANTOM OF OZ by Cindy Brown In the tradition of Brown’s previous ‘Ivyntures’, the book is a clever mash-up of stage classics. This time THE WIZARD OF OZ meets THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, with a dash of THE WOMAN IN WHITE thrown in for ghostly good measure. Could there be more familiar stage tropes than these classics? WIZARD is currently represented on Broadway by WICKED, while PHANTOM has just entered its third decade on the Great White Way. Both are rooted in century old fantasy fiction, so it is fitting that Brown returns them to the page – with her own Phoenician flair, of course. Oz was a green planet and Dorothy’s house had been pulled into space through some tornado time warp. The Cowardly Lion looked like a Wookie, the Scarecrow had a sort of big-headed E.T. quality, the Tin Man was based on Marvin, the depressed robot from THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, and the Darryl Hannah replicant character from BLADE RUNNER inspired the look for both the Wicked Witches. Glinda was costumed like one of the babes Captain Kirk was always kissing on the original STAR TREK, and the Wizard wasn’t a cast member at all, just a projection.”

The Dressing Room Podcast In this episode, Tom chats to Jemma Rix – currently starring as “The Wicked Witch of The West” in The Wizard Of Oz, touring all around Australia! Find out how it’s different playing The Wicked Witch in Wizard, Versus Elphaba in Wicked [she’s done both!] 

Oz in the News 12.31.18

Kat Cunning Spins A Queer Narrative In Her First Music Video “I’m queer, and the song itself is — I mean, it’s loosely based on Wizard of Oz, which I’ve been obsessed with since I was as young as I can remember. And then, growing up, coming into my own and realizing I was gay, it was a funny realization that The Wizard of Oz is also actually such an emblem for the gay community. It’s ‘Over the Rainbow,’ Dorothy, Judy Garland — it’s like a poster story for gay people finding themselves. In a way, this song was a version of The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy doesn’t come home. Like that ending monologue, when she’s like, ‘And you were there, and you were there! But it couldn’t have been you, could you?’ I saw that as kind of a bummer. She literally goes back to a world made of black and white after you’ve seen — at the time — one of the first color films, ever. She has so many adventures, and for me that story is akin to finding your community of people and particularly a colorful queer world full of beautiful freaks. For me, that’s what the song is about — finding that family.”

Oz in the News 1.28.18

Born in Mansfield: Animals who smile – The Legacy of HR McBride and Frank VerBeck Frank VerBeck made a significant contribution to the illustration of classic American literature.  He was chosen by L. Frank Baum to illustrate some of his post-Wizard of Oz books like A New Wonderland and The Magical Monarch of Mo in 1900-1903; and he was the first artist to interpret the Just So stories of Rudyard Kipling when they originally appeared serially in Ladies’ Home Journal.

Recognized as one of the greatest comic animal artists made him a natural to do the pictures for early editions of the Uncle Remus stories.