Monthly Archives: March 2011

Oz in the News 3.30.11

Lady Gaga given Judy Garland’s ruby red slippers Lady Gaga received Judy Garland’s original ruby red slippers from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ movie for her 25th birthday on Tuesday.  The ‘Born This Way’ singer revealed the present meant so much to her because she lost out to playing the role of Dorothy to a high school bully when she was younger and the generous gift showed her how far she had come since then.  She explained: “Little did they know that I have a real background with these shoes.  “I will never forget it because I wanted to be Dorothy so bad. I was in 8th grade and she was a senior. I definitely deserved to get it, but I didn’t get it. On behalf of myself and all of those bullied around the world, now these f**king ruby slippers are mine.”

Twenty–Six One–Hour Episodes of CBS Television’s “The Judy Garland Show” Offered By Darryl Payne Films This historic collection of 26 one-hour-long episodes includes an unprecedented list of guests – including Barbra Streisand, Mickey Rooney, Count Basie, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Ethel Merman, Bob Newhart, Donald O’Connor, Peggy Lee, Steve Allen, Jane Powell, Peter Lawford, Vic Damone, Jack Jones, and Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli, among others. Judy Garland also performed solo concert performances as part of this amazing, wonderful TV show.

Off to see the Wiz! SPECTACULAR musical The Wizard of Oz is set to roll into Skegness next month as part of a UK-wide tour featuring one of the Dorothy hopefuls from the BBC’s smash show ‘Over the Rainbow’.  As well as the show’s semi-finalist Steph Fearon, the star-studded cast includes the like of entertainment legend Bobby Davro as the Scarecrow, and CBeebies star Sarah-Jane Honeywell as Glinda.

WIN: Pair of Tickets To BAFTA Event With Games Developer Behind YOOSTAR 2 Obsessed With Film have teamed up with BAFTA to give away a pair of tickets to a very special Q & A with Games Developers Phillip and Andrew Oliver from Blitz Games Studios to discuss the creation of Yoostar 2, a cool looking ‘movie karaoke’ game for Kinect and PS3.  Featuring iconic scenes from acclaimed films and TV series – including The Godfather, Rocky, The Wizard Of Oz, Mad Men and Grease – Yoostar 2 allows players to recreate classic performances, acting alongside or replacing Hollywood’s biggest stars.  The event takes place on Monday 4th April, 18.30pm at BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LN.

Oz in the News 3.29.11

Madison County prepares for Oz-Stravaganza The theme of the 33rd annual event is “Celebrating Dorothy,” in tribute to Baum’s heroine.  The weekend will feature the winners of the first-ever Miss Oz-Stravaganza pageant, set for May 14.  The pageant is open to contestants ages 2 to 19 residing in the Chittenango Central School District. Winners will serve as ambassadors of the community and the Oz-Stravaganza festival, riding with the grand marshal in the annual parade, participating in the Emerald City Idol and costume contests and kicking off the annual Munchkin Mile Fun Run.

“Miss Oz-Stravaganza! Pageant” represents Chittenango community “Oz-Stravaganza is really about Chittenango and the birthplace of L. Frank Baum,” Walter said. “We felt that it was really important that the winners of Miss Oz-Stravaganza be residents of Chittenango because they’re representing their community. How can somebody that’s not from our area represent the community?”  While typical pageant rules will cover the competition, Walter said the extremism that’s captured in the show “Toddlers & Tiaras” won’t be present. She hopes to overcome the stereotypes attached to pageants because of shows like that.  “We’re not looking for people to dress their 3 and 4-year-olds like 25-year-olds,” she said. “It’s about being community ambassadors. It’s about representing themselves. While, of course, yes, there’s a beauty element, there’s confidence, there’s charisma, there’s community spirit.”

Wizard of Oz Tea Party and vintage fashion show at the historic Vaile Mansion Sitting amongst small tables and chairs, eating tea-sized treats, dozens of people enjoyed a hint of Wizard of Oz in the rooms of the historic Vaile Mansion. This is the first year for the Wizard of Oz Tea Party and vintage fashion show, organized by volunteers and staff at the mansion in Independence Saturday. Limited to 75 people, guests had the opportunity to listen to harp music as they enjoyed a lunch of traditional tea party treats and desserts. Mingling with the guests were Dorothy, Toto, the Wicked Witch of the West and Glenda the Good Witch. Those in attendance were encouraged to dress up as characters from the iconic movie or in vintage costumes. At the end of the event, which served to educate the public about the Vaile Mansion, guests were treated to a fashion show of vintage clothing and accessories.

Oz in the News 3.26.11

Mila Kunis Signs up to go to Oz Sam Raimi‘s Oz, The Great and Powerful is casting up and Mila Kunis has now signed on, according to Variety. She’ll be joining James Franco, who’s starring as the titular wizard. The film is a prequel to the classic L. Frank Baum novel and film The Wizard of Oz, and Kunis will play Theodora, a young witch who’s rebuffed by Oz and turns wicked. The film is at Walt Disney studios, and currently has no release date.

Original Illustration Art from the Collection of Kendra and Allan Daniel Offered at Sotheby’s William Wallace Denslow became the leading American illustrator of children’s books with L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful
Wizard of Oz in 1900; and he followed that classic with the equally
well-illustrated modern fairy tale Pearl and the Pumpkin that the artist
co-wrote. His successor as the Imperial Illustrator, John R. Neill, too
added much to the magic of Oz as in the striking full-page picture
for Baum’s Tik Tok of Oz (1914).  Other illustrators of this period rife for
reconsideration are Frank Ver Beck and Fanny Young Cory (later Cooney) too who was dabbling in advertising when she was voted the children’s favorite artist at the legendary St. Nicholas Magazine.

Interview: The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle The two surprising figures that anchor the album – Judy Garland, who died of a drug overdose, and her daughter, Liza Minnelli – actually provide a helpful coda.  The songs that reference them – “The Autopsy Garland” and “Liza Forever Minnelli” – came out of a walk Darnielle took in Los Angeles a few years ago where he passed both Garland’s and Minnelli’s stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  “It was just this moment where I thought of people who survive things and people who don’t. People who can read the clues and dodge those bullets,” he said.  While Garland should be every performer’s role model — her Carnegie Hall live album is about “the nature of delivering to your audience, standing on stage and giving every last drop you have,” he said — she was an unhappy character. Minnelli, on the other hand, has had her share of ups and downs but seems to be perennially ebullient.  “When you’re born into a showbiz family, the deck is stacked against you,” Darnielle said. “But Liza managed to convert herself into a shockingly great performer. When you see her interviews, she’s so present.”  Darnielle, aware that this might surprise some of his fans, continued, “I know for some people, cool is not something you think of when you think Liza, but, frankly, those people are wrong.”

Oohs and Oz The 2007 tornado that obliterated Greensburg, however, led to a hellish nightmare that was all too real for its 1,400 residents, rather than a dream from which they’re still hoping to awaken.  The scene the next morning of May 5, 2007, was one of utter destruction and block after block of rain-soaked debris.  Though the events of that night and the months of rebuilding that have followed may never be depicted on the silver screen, plans are underway for a stage presentation next year of what this Kansas town has endured and accomplished.  Tentatively titled “The Other Side of Oz”, the performance will offer a unique perspective on how Greensburg has responded to the killer storm and moved on to build a model community of sustainability.

Oz in the News 3.25.11

Sing-Along Wizard Of Oz Comes To The Castro Hosted by Laurie Bushman, Joe Wicht, and David Hawkins, this interactive presentation of the film has been customized with on-screen lyrics, so that the audience can easily sing along. Your hosts will introduce each program and warm up the audiences’ vocal cords. Goody bags will be handed out to everyone. Audience members can add to the fun by dressing up as their favorite character from the film.

Oz in the News 3.24.11

Tribute to Yip Harburg displays lyricist’s mastery of humor and sentiment “Look to the Rainbow: The Lyrics of Yip Harburg,” the current revue at Quality Hill Playhouse, showcases some of the man’s finest work, from the opening rendition of “It’s Only a Paper Moon” (“it’s only a paper moon sailing over a cardboard sea, but it wouldn’t be make believe if you believed in me”) to the finale, an a cappella reading of “Over the Rainbow” (“somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true”).

New costume exhibit at Indy’s children’s museum The Wicked Witch’s hat from “The Wizard of Oz,” Batman’s bat suit and Darth Vader’s cape and helmet are on display at the new “Incredible Costumes From Film and TV” exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Running through May 8, the exhibit explores the role costumes play in storytelling on big and small screens alike. Special character appearances are scheduled for Saturday and April 2 and 9. Visitors can play dress up and test their acting chops on a child-sized movie set;

Original Oz musical in production

An original script will unfold on the stage at Acting-A-Part, on Woodport Road in Sparta, this May as students from all over Sussex County — and some from as far away as Pennsylvania — perform “A Wiz of a Wonderful Wicked Wizard of Oz.”  “We wanted our students to not only see and appreciate the entire Oz sequence, but also become familiar with both Wicked and The Wiz,” said the theater’s owner, Sparta resident, Erika Lupo. “Everything from the dialog on out is original.”  The production will touch on highlights from each of the three Oz musicals and include about 12 different songs.

Oz in the News 3.18.11

Hannah Waddingham, Wicked Witch of London’s Oz, on Not Playing Elphaba and More “I really felt as if they just let me run with it, and [director] Jeremy Sams was very good at sometimes going, “Waddingham, no, you’re not doing that!” For example the dome flight that I do—[flying down from the heights of the auditorium out and over the audience]—was meant to be voice-over and I kept saying, “Look, you have to have the Witch in the audience, whoever plays her.” It’s all well and good flying on stage—that’s exciting—but thinking about children particularly, because that’s who I’m doing this for, if the Witch is behind the proscenium arch, that’s too safe.”

Garland’s daughter sings for Mom at Carnegie Hall The singers at the weekend event included Ashley Brown, Broadway’s original (and current again) Mary Poppins; Heather Headley, of “Aida” and “The Lion King”; and Karen Olivo, of “In the Heights” and “West Side Story.”  They tackled such Garland classics as “The Trolley Song,” ”Get Happy,” and “Chicago (That Toddling Town).” Headley delivered a scorching “Stormy Weather,” Olivo shone on “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart,” and Brown drew cheers for a gorgeously sung “Over the Rainbow,” the young Garland’s signature song, of course, from “The Wizard of Oz.”  As for Luft, she belted out “The Man That Got Away” and “Come Rain or Come Shine,” then got a standing ovation for “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby (With a Dixie Melody)” — the song, she joked, that Mom always sang to satisfy Lorna’s penchant for “the loud ones.” (Garland’s older daughter, Liza Minnelli, who turned 65 over the weekend, was not at the show.)

WIZARD OF OZ Performance to Benefit Comic Relief, April 21 THE WIZARD OF OZ is set to host a special Comic Relief gala performance, starring Michael Crawford as The Wizard and Danielle Hope (winner of the BBC’s smash hit Over the Rainbow) as Dorothy, and ‘Dangerous Dave’ – BBC’s Over the Rainbow’s winning Toto. The event will take place at 7:30pm on Thursday 21st April.


Oz in the News 3.16.11

Parallels seen with the world of Oz Peta Wright paints expressively and from the heart in a brisk, naive style. However, there’s nothing impulsive about her exhibition The Wizard of Oz and Friends, now showing at Art@203 in Trafalgar St, Nelson – she’s been working on it for four years.  Wright identifies closely with Dorothy and her journey from Kansas, seeing in the story parallels with her own life and journey.  Her dog Peaches is central to her painting. “My relationship with Peaches is the same as that between Dorothy and Toto.”

Past comic crossovers inspire ‘Dream Eater Saga’ The company began in 2005 with the initial series Grimm Fairy Tales, which started setting up a world full of twisted takes on fairy tales and their famous characters, and since 2007, Gregory has written many stories, including all the Wonderland books, as the Zenescope universe has expanded to inhabit four different realms: Neverland, Wonderland, Myst and the heretofore-unseen Oz.  It hasn’t been explored in real detail yet, but Oz is the big Zenescope story left to tell, and at the end of The Dream Eater Saga, “you do see the first hints to when that’s coming,” says Gregory, who is also planning a new Wonderland ongoing series to spin out of the crossover.

‘Oz’-themed party an affair with heart The team has been working for months to re-create their visions of Oz, incorporating bits and pieces from the book, the movie and the musical “Wicked.” Heading up the visual effort is Ron Pleasanton, creative director of the gala.  “We have everything from the gates of Oz, to the windmill on Dorothy’s farm,” he said.  The 15 different sets include the witch’s castle, Dorothy’s tornado-stricken house, munchkin huts and more.
Cindy Thurman, decorating chair, said part of the fun of this gala was interpreting the theme, because everyone knows it.  “With Oz there’s so many things that pop into your mind, like the Winkies, or the Flying Monkeys, or the broom, or the Yellow Brick Road,” she said. “I think that part was the fun part, because everybody could put in their own input, they knew they could throw in their own ideas.”

Oz in the News 3.13.11

“Billy Bounce” – 60s cartoon version of the W.W. Denslow book With my Comcast cable backage I have access to Xfinity On Demand. Something Weird Video has a channel there in the Cutting Edge section with a rotating selection of old industrial videos, school scare films, old vaudeville stripper acts, etc. Anyway, I check the section out regularly and just noticed this “Billy Bounce” video. I thought maybe it was just something with the same name as the W.W. Denslow cartoon strip/book but there in the beginning was Denslow’s name and the seahorse logo.

Mila Kunis Melts for Role of Wicked Witch of the West in Sam Raimi’s Oz, the Great and Powerful After a recent meeting with Raimi and Wizard James Franco, all agreed that Kunis would be perfect for the part of Theodorah, the younger sister of Evanorah who goes on to become the Wicked Witch of the West and, of course, to cackle iconic lines like, “I’ll get you, my pretty … and your little dog, too!” With her involvement assured, we’re told that Franco finally agreed to do the picture.

Steven Reineke Talks Judy Garland and Carnegie Hall “My all time favourite is actually not on this program, it’s “Get Happy”. We aren’t doing it because she didn’t do it originally at this performance. I thought about adding it but we have so much music already that I didn’t think we could add anymore. One thing I really love on this particular program is “If Love Were All”. A few of these songs have become so iconic in their own right and I love getting to hear them with these arrangements. Also, the arrangement of “Come Rain or Come Shine” that is on this album is jus the best one of this tune that I have ever heard. I grew up listening to this music and it is going to be a lot of fun. It’s not on this program, it’s “Get Happy”.”

Clark Gable in 1925 The Wizard of Oz Last night I heard something interesting, that sounds like it might bear investigating.  I was listeneng to some old time radio shows on my mp3 player. One of the shows that I listened two was a very old (pre 1940) episode of The Fred Allen Show (I know it was very old as it was the hour long version, and pre-dates “Allen’s Alley”) As a random guest, Allen had on Larry Sermon’s Assistant Director from the 1925 Wizard of Oz (who at the time apparently had the food trailer concession for Warner Brothers studio. During the interview, the now short order cook made a statment that suprised me, namely that one of the extras on that picture was a young (and presumaby not yet known), Clark Gable (He said he “carried a  spear”, but whether this is literal or figurative I have no way of knowing).

Time machine, aliens update ‘Oz’ Clark Gable in ’25 The Wizard of Oz
The mood in the hallway was energetic Thursday as a handful of St. Joseph Central Elementary students rehearsed for their production of “The Wizard of Oz.”  After 13 weeks of preparation, the students were finally ready for their regional Destination ImagiNation competition, which took place last weekend in Bourbon.  The students had to tell “The Wizard of Oz” three different ways to three different audiences and come up with inventive ways of getting from one audience to the next (hence the time machine).

Oz in the News 3.12.11

Getting to the meat of the matter You will be forgiven if, what with all the budget ruckus in the Badger State, you missed this critical piece of news: The munchkin coroner from “The Wizard of Oz” is about to be inducted into the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame.  His name was Meinhardt Raabe, and he died last spring at the ripe old age of 94.  Before he starred in “The Wizard of Oz,” Raabe worked as a salesman for Oscar Mayer & Co. He played the role of “Little Oscar, the World’s Smallest Chef” (standing 4-feet, 7-inches, high) and drove the Wienermobile all across the land.  He did that for 30 years, taking a leave of absence in 1938 to play the munchkin coroner.

Tribute concert today celebrates Minnesota’s Judy Garland, re-creating a special night in a special place Today, the entertainment world in New York City pays tribute to a Minnesota icon, re-creating a special night at a special place 50 years ago.  Her daughter, Lorna Luft, joins the New York Pops and other Broadway performers to honor Frances Ethel Gumm, the Grand Rapids native better known to the world as Judy Garland.  It’s a big weekend for the Garland clan. In addition to all this hoopla, daughter Liza Minnelli turns 65 on Saturday and also is being honored in New York, although it doesn’t sound like she’s taking part in today’s concert.

Charles Barkley: Thumbs-up to ‘Cowardly Tiger’ in Wizard of Oz TNT colleague Ernie Johnson had fun with Barkley mixing up a Tiger with a Lion at a joint CBS/Turner Sports presser previewing March Madness coverage earlier this week.  “Who can forget the Cowardly Tiger, one of the great movie roles of all time,” asked Johnson.

Oz in the News 3.11.11

New Jersey Choral Society is ‘Off to Oz’ “Off to Oz,” featuring the magical music of The Wizard of Oz, The Wiz, and Wicked, will be performed Saturday, March 19 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 20 at 3 p.m. at Immaculate Heart Academy, 500 Van Emburgh Ave., Washington Township – conducted by Eric Dale Knapp, with Linda Sweetman-Waters on piano. Come one hour before concert times for “The Inside Line,” an entertaining presentation about the music and composers.

Al Di Meola’s ‘Over The Rainbow’ Swoops In Like A Dream With Charlie Haden Di Meola’s interpretation of “Over the Rainbow” swoops in like a dream on a row of grandiose strings before Di Meola’s pristine, slightly overdriven jazz guitar takes over the song. Working in perfect harmony with legendary jazz bassist Charlie Haden, Di Meola lifts the song to new heights as he picks up intensity and stretches each line, staying true to Garland’s immortal melody throughout. Listen to “Over the Rainbow”

If ever a Wiz there was, the Wizard of Oz is one The art-deco-inspired Emerald City of Oz is simply stunning, the flying monkeys scary enough to reduce at least one small child to tears, and with pyrotechnics aplenty (someone should remind the producers that there is a reason why dogs don’t go out on Bonfire Night), this Wizard contains just about enough thrills to keep the grown-ups watching until, safely back in Kansas, Hope takes her final bow. You can sense her relief. All the words in the right order – and in tune to boot – helped in no small part by an excellent band. However, fans of Crawford should get their skates on. I can’t imagine him sticking around in Oz for very much longer, given the paucity of his role.

Storyopolis Entertainment Adds Artist Yakovetic Whose Images from “Gone With The Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz” are Magnificent In 2009, Yakovetic joined Warner Bros. Consumer Products in celebrating the 70th Anniversaries of “The Wizard of OZ” and “Gone With the Wind,” by creating a line of fine art paintings. Yakovetic Productions plans to debut these original paintings along with limited edition gicleés, for sale On-Line, at Storyopolis Global Entertainment the premiere source for art in the illustrated genre. His “Surrender Dorothy” painting has been used as a limited edition US Postage stamp.