Oz in the News 4.26.11

Schwartz Feted at Opera Gala  Before singing “Popular,” her signature tune from “Wicked,” Ms. Chenoweth gave some behind-the-music insight on the show. Mr. Schwartz had read Gregory Maguire’s novel on a “snorkeling excursion,” Ms. Chenoweth recalled. He discovered the rights belonged to Universal and Marc Platt. Mr. Platt, a co-chairman of the gala, was very amenable to Mr. Schwartz, considering he had been in a high-school production of “Godspell.” The composer eventually brought on Ms. Chenoweth for a workshop, but, not quite recognizing the appeal of “The Wizard of Oz,” she said she was skeptical at first.  “I had just finished the big hit sitcom ‘Kristin,'” Ms. Chenoweth said of her namesake show, which lasted only six episodes on air. “All I said was, ‘I’m not playing the munchkin.'”

Welcome to Weird: Return to Oz  Ozma’s the rightful queen of Oz and the Scarecrow’s its sovereign for a while. That’s good enough to connect Return to Oz to this week’s royalty theme timed with the King’s Speech’s home video release.  Look at children’s entertainment in the long view: it’s hard not to see it as being on a continually-inclining curve toward safe, defanged political correctness. That manifests as recently as G.I. Joeand Transformers getting away with a lot more manly gunplay in the 80s and it goes as least as far back as Grimm’s Fairy Tales and der Struwwelpeter and their especially-gruesome bedtime stories. The wonderful world of Oz sits somewhere in the middle of that: meaning you can forget all the cutesy comments about how freaky the flying monkeys and apple-fling trees are, because the fantasia of L. Frank Baum’s original books is stranger, scarier and more satirical than the modern reader will expect. Return to Oz pays undoubtedly greater respect to the flavor and look of the world Baum described on paper… and that was maybe to its detriment.

Wizard of Oz Fan Puts Heart, Brains and Courage into Shop   La Mesa cupcake merchant Mindy Roberts has always been “Auntie M.” And her favorite menu offering? Ruby Red Slippers.  That’s a moist red velvet cake with a creamy dollop of cherry-chip cheesecake buttercream and topped, of course, with a bright red cherry.  “All my cupcakes are named after The Wizard of Oz,” said Roberts, who opened Auntie M’s Cupn’Cake Bakery and Gifts in July at 7406 University Ave.  “This is the true grit of the industry,” Roberts proudly says of her baked confections. “It’s shortening and sugar and butter …. It’s the real deal.”

VIDEO: White House Easter Egg Roll  The sun-drenched south lawn of the White House underwent a playground renovation on Monday morning, as the president and first lady kicked off the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. Pastel-dressed families from all 50 states (30,000 visitors in total are expected) milled about the grassy landscape, with the Marine Corps brass band playing nostalgic tunes from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and The Wizard of Oz, before the First Family (including Sasha and Malia, as well as their grandmother Marian Robinson) stepped onto the White House balcony to welcome their guests.

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