Oz in the News 4.24.11

Hilary Swank, Williams competing for ‘Oz’ role  Sam Raimi has reportedly begun a dispute with Disney Pictures over who to cast as the Wicked Witch of the East in his prequel to The Wizard of Oz.  Vulture claims that while Disney are keen to have Blue Valentine star Michelle Williams take on the role, Raimi himself is set on casting Academy Award-winning actress Hilary Swank.

Rare glimpse into Garland’s life   A glimpse into the life of film legend Judy Garland is in store for audiences at the London One Act Festival.  The 13th annual festival begins Monday and runs through to Saturday at the Grand Theatre’s McManus Studio.  One of the shows in the fest is The Judy Monologues.  The performance piece is based on rare voice recordings that Garland made for an autobiography that was never written, said the show’s creator, director and actor.  “It really is juicy stuff and I thought this would be a unique way to bring it to people’s attention. It is a rare glimpse into the private thoughts of a Hollywood legend,” said Darren Stewart-Jones.  Stewart-Jones said although the piece doesn’t hide Garland’s problems, it isn’t gratuitous or exploitive either.  “We really pay homage to her. We do it in a respectful way.”  The play is a multimedia production and also includes vintage film footage of Garland from her time in Hollywood.   Kimberly Roberts appears as Garland in silent vignettes. Stewart-Jones, Philip Cairns and Ryan Fisher are also in the monologues.

‘Over the Rainbow’: April 23, 2011, marks golden anniversary of Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall  50 years ago, at 8:30 p.m., Sunday, April 23, 1961, Judy Garland performed her legendary concert at Carnegie Hall.(The overture actually began at 8:40 p.m. EST, according to Garland historian John Fricke.)

Benny Hill theme tune used to calm down violent boozy youths in Leicestershire   IT IS the TV theme tune that evokes images of a saucy slapstick chase.  Comedian Benny Hill would end his programme by pursuing scantily-clad girls – who would then turn the tables by racing after his cheeky character.  But now the theme music from the classic TV show is being used to CALM DOWN boozy revellers in one Midland town.  The famous song is being blasted out at closing time by Vice Versa nightclub in Loughborough, Leicestershire, to keep everyone in a happy mood – and reduce violent outbreaks.  And the venue is also sending clubbers on their merry way home by using other wacky tunes from the Jungle Book and The Wizard of Oz.

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