Oz in the News 5.25.18

That’s just Oz-some Lyn and Larry Fenwick’s Wizard of Oz collection is now on display at the Pratt County Historical Society Museum. Dorothy and Toto have landed again but this time it’s not in Oz, its at the Pratt County Historical Society Museum in a special Wizard of Oz display provided by collectors Larry and Lyn Fenwick. The display is open now and the public is encouraged to come visit the museum and see this new Kansas related display. The display includes dolls Lyn made that are “book correct” meaning they are accurate to the description in L. Frank Baum’s books. The dolls represent Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion. In the famous movie released in 1939 starring Judy Garland as Dorothy, the MGM studio changed Dorothy’s slippers from the original silver to red. The movie was being made in Technicolor and the studio wanted the shoes to stand out more on the screen. Lyn’s version of Dorothy remains true with her wearing silver slippers. Dorothy wears a pink sun bonnet, is wearing a blue and white gingham dress, has a basket with linen cloth to hold a loaf of bread and a key to lock the house. The Tin Man is designed to look like it is made of parts from a hardware store, the Lion has flowers to show his gentle side and the Scarecrow is dressed in blue with boots of a Munchkin farmer, a tall pointed hat with bells around the brim and his head is a sack. Lyn took a liberty with Scarecrows head and painted Hudson Creme Flour on the back of the sack. Other items in the collection include a Tin Man made out of tin cans, a Wizard of Oz Chess set, Oz main characters made of wheat straw by artist DeAnn Stephens, music boxes, Oz books and book- ends created for the Smithsonian Museum and much more.

Talking Pictures: Jeff Rapsis: Interpreting the silents Talking Pictures travels to Brandon to see the 1925 version of “Wizard of Oz,” accompanied by Jeff Rapsis of Bedford, New Hampshire, who has been coming for eight years now to Brandon to present these silent movies as they originally were intended to be seen, with live musical accompaniment, played before a live audience. Rapsis says, “It’s the audience that makes the experience. you can have the film. You can have the music. But if you don’t have an audience, you miss out on the real magic of the experience.” This “Wizard of Oz,” directed by and starring the nearly forgotten silent film comedy star Larry Semon. Semon and serial collaborator Oliver Hardy, before he famously partnered with Stan Laurel, wades into different territory than the more familiar 1939 Technicolor version with Judy Garland. In this week’s Talking Pictures video, above, you can see and hear Jeff Rapsis tell the story.

Inspirational Vision Media Relays Update From J/V Partner Dr. Pavan Grover to Shareholders on Status of Their 9 Book Series Legends of Oz by Roger S. Baum “Dr. Grover is doing a wonderful job developing the scripts and production bible for the nine books in our “Legends of Oz” series,” said IVM’s CEO Steven Previch. “His passion for sharing the magic of Oz with future generations is felt throughout the project, which has led to his recent discussions with an interested Netflix. We believe “Legends of Oz” can provide “Wizard of Oz” fans old and new, a memorable trip down the Yellow Brick Road.” “With the Legends of Oz, I am creating my vision of a transcendent reimaging of Oz,” added Doctor Grover. “At its heart the “Wizard of Oz” is an epic American adventure fable about believing in yourself and the importance of family. I want to capture the emotion and enchantment we first felt when we read the book as children. I promise you it will be like nothing you have ever seen. “Legends of Oz” will be a visual masterpiece and an emotional roller coaster ride that will be an addictive binge-watching juggernaut that could change the way you look at the world and all its possibilities.”


Oz in the News 5.23.18

Lions & Tigers & Bears, Oh My: A Wizard of Oz Escape Room Has Come To Melbourne TRAPT’s brand new Wizard of Oz-themed room features all the crazy characters of the iconic film and stage production. You and your team will find yourself in the Land of Oz with the mission to find Emerald City and return to Kansas. After all, there is no place like home! If you are like the Cowardly Lion and need a dose of (liquid) courage, the bar is also serving up speciality cocktails such as the ‘Tequila Witch’. It’ll definitely take that nasty green woman down! Can you complete the puzzles and find your way home?

Turner’s all-animation network renews several original shows, including ‘Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz’ Boomerang has renewed several original series, including Be Cool Scooby-Doo!, Bunnicula, Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, New Looney Tunes, The Tom and Jerry Show and Wacky Races. Boomerang was originally launched in the U.S. in 2000 as a TV network; last year, Turner and Warner Bros. partnered to also launch Boomerang as a stand-alone domestic premium video subscription service offering a library of more than 5,000 Hanna-Barbera, Looney Tunes and MGM animation library titles, along with original series, on a streaming platform.

Oz in the News 5.19.18

New Animated ‘Oz’ Coming to Disc June 5 Cinedigm will release the animated The Steam Engines of Oz as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and digitally June 5. The film, based on the graphic novel of the same name, is a re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz with a steampunk twist. Set a century after Dorothy’s visit, the film finds the Emerald City has become an industrialized wasteland ruled by a tyrannical Tin Man, and Oz’s only hope is a young engineer named Victoria Wright who assembles Scarecrow, the not-so-Cowardly Lion, and an assortment of Munchkins and flying monkeys to find Tin Man’s heart. The voice cast includes William Shatner, Ron Perlman and Julianne Hough.

Oz in the News 5.17.18

Stephen Schwartz To Perform Songs From Wicked At Oz-stravaganza It was confirmed this week that Stephen Schwartz, composer/lyricist of WICKED, has added music to his personal appearance at the annual OZ-Stravaganza! WIZARD OF OZ Festival in Chittenango, NY, on Saturday, June 2nd. His on-stage, free-to-the-public interview was announced earlier this month, but Mr. Schwartz has now offered to perform songs from the score of WICKED during that presentation. Schwartz, a three-time “Oscar” and four-time “Grammy” Award winner, will appear as the headliner of the 6:30 p.m. event at Chittenango High School, 150 Genesee Street. (Doors open at 6:15.) WICKED has long since achieved legendary status as one of Broadway’s all-time, record-breaking musical productions and celebrates its fifteenth anniversary this year. Two of the Broadway stars of WICKED, Tiffany Haas(“Glinda”) and Michael McCorry Rose (“Fiyero”), will also take part in the June 2nd program. They’ll be interviewed together about their Ozian theatrical experiences and then later appear with Mr. Schwartz, as well. Emmy Award-winning producer, best-selling author, and Oz historian John Fricke moderates the Saturday evening showcase. Mr. Schwartz will also offer a meet-and-greet/autograph session on Sunday, June 3rd, from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at Chittenango’s All Things Oz Museum & Gift Shop, 219 Genesee Street, (315) 333-2286. The public is encouraged to arrive early, as space is limited, and the session time cannot be extended.

Ding dong the witch is dead – twice? Silent film composer Jeff Rapsis is beginning the eighth season of his silent film series with “The Wizard of Oz.” Not the Judy Garland one. The 1925 version with a silent – and very different take – on L. Frank Baum’s series of novels, which both movies were loosely based on. Rapsis will be screening the movie at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at Brandon Town Hall and Community Center. “This version of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ doesn’t get shown very often,” Rapsis said last week. “People generally aren’t aware of it. It’s such a curiosity now that it makes it worth showing because ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is something everybody knows. It’s one of these forgotten things that I think are a lot of fun to dust off.” Rapsis says older films like these might seem like the primitive ancestors to movies today, but he wants to give viewers the experience of going to the movies during the time these films came out – like a time machine set to 1925. “If you put it all back together with a theater, a big screen, a restored film, and live music (it weaves) that spell that a good silent movie will cast if everything is working the way it should,” he said. It won’t feature songs like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” because there was no soundtrack to the 1925 film, but that’s where Rapsis shines – with his one-of-a-kind score composed completely by instinct. “I sit down and play for an hour and a half and lose myself,” he said. “It would be nothing anyone would have ever heard before and I could probably never repeat it. None of it is planned out. I don’t have any sheet music.”

Oz in the News 5.17.18

Dorothy’s ruby slippers will return to the National Museum of American History on Oct. 19 The artifacts from the 1939 MGM movie “The Wizard of Oz” will be a highlight of an interim display of American popular culture, museum officials said. The permanent cultural galleries, which are closed, will reopen in 2020. “We wanted to return these to display earlier than that and to bring out other objects from the collection,” spokeswoman Laura Duff said. Dorothy’s sequined slippers — one of several pairs worn by Judy Garland — went off view on April 23, 2017, for conservation and research. The project was supported by a Kickstarter campaign in 2016 that raised nearly $350,000 from more than 6,400 supporters. The Smithsonian’s first Kickstarter in 2015 raised $719,779 to conserve and display Neil Armstrong’s Apollo spacesuit. When the ruby slippers return this fall, they will be displayed in one of eight installations focused on American culture, including music, sports and entertainment.

Review: El Wiz – Fringe 2018 L.Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz” gets re-set in contemporary Puerto Rico in Paul Castañeda and Juan Cantú’s “The Wiz.” There are great ideas in Castañeda’s adaptation to make the story relevant — the Scarecrow has Asperger’s, the Tin Man is gay. Most important, the tornado is now Hurricane Maria. In the stirring opening, the islanders plead for help – “We are one,” they sing in Spanish. “We are part of your country.” But thankfully, “El Wiz” isn’t a political screed. Rather, it’s an exuberant celebration of heritage and resilience.  Castañeda has found a magnificent –— and gigantic — cast. There are so many people on stage, in fact, that as director he doesn’t always focus the audience’s attention on where it needs to be. Still, many make strong impressions, especially Crystal Lizardo as determined Dorothy, Desiree Montes as the spirit of her mother and a pair of Ericks: Erick Sureda has great moves and stirs compassion for the Scarecrow, Erick Perafan brings a spectacular tenor to the Tin Man. Cantú’s music is almost always highly engaging — the Lizardo-led “Mi Isla” is also particularly memorable.

Oz in the News 5.15.18

Amber Ruffin to Contribute New Material for The Muny’s THE WIZ The Muny announced today that Emmy and Writers Guild Award-nominated Amber Ruffin will provide new material for the script of The Muny’s production of The Wiz, June 19 – 25. Ruffin has been working with The Wiz’s original book writer, William F. Brown, on The Muny production, with the full support of Charles Michael Smalls, son of The Wiz composer Charlie Smalls. “We’re so thrilled for The Muny’s 100th to premiere a new version of The Wiz,” said Muny Artistic Director and Executive Producer Mike Isaacson. “Working with The Wiz’s original book writer, William F. Brown, and his wife, Tina Tippit, Amber has brought a wonderful, fresh voice to the show. Anyone who has seen her hilarious work on Late Night with Seth Meyers knows how wise and funny she is. Collaborating with Bill, Tina, Amber and Michael Smalls to create our Muny production has been a joy.” “I am so honored to be a part of The Wiz,” said Ruffin. “I have so many fond memories of this musical, and I hope this production lights the same spark in people that it did in me!”

Oz in the News 5.8.18

Skaters take journey on ice to Oz Isabella Gringon, 16, who will play the role of Dorothy, said having her mom’s support means so much. She admits it will be great spending Mother’s Day having her in the audience. Her mom, Victoria Amendolare, owner of Meredith’s Performance Wear, has not only designed Isabella’s skating dresses for the past several years, but now makes custom costumes and alterations for many of the skaters at the Rockledge venue. “My mom amazes me with all the beautiful dresses she sews for both me and other skaters here,” Isabella said. “She is continuously working on astonishing costumes for us. She is so talented.” For more information or to purchase tickets call 321-504-7500 or visit 720 Roy Wall Blvd., Rockledge, FL