Oz in the News 6.26.11

‘Surrender Dorothy’ painted on a Beltway overpass — what’s the story?  As I traveled on the Beltway in the early ’70s near the Mormon Temple in Kensington, I was always amused by one re-occurring sight. On an overpass just as the temple comes into view, someone would always spray paints in big letters “Surrender Dorothy.” The line was from “The Wizard of Oz,” and I’m fairly sure it reflected the graffiti artist’s impression that the temple was reminiscent of the spires that Dorothy and company saw as they approached the Emerald City and their subsequent fear when the witch wrote the phrase in the sky. While I recognize that it was illegal to do that, I marveled at the writer’s ability to write it so boldly as to be seen from the highway. I’ve often wondered if anyone knew the story behind it or knew who the person was.

Sam Raimi’s Wizard Of Oz Prequel Puts Call Out For Clowns  Sam Raimi’s Wizard of Oz prequel likely will have a lot more than just clowns, but that’s what the production needs in the Michigan area, according to MichiganActing.com (via Coming Soon). Casting associates have put out a call for trained clowns age 18 and over for paid roles in what will be an origin story for the Wizard, explaining how he arrived in Oz years before Dorothy brought her dog, Toto, to the yellow brick road. Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire will write the screenplay, a prequel to L. Frank Baum’s classic novel.

A few select young ladies earn the DOROTHY DISTINCTION  “One of our Dorothys received recognition from (U.S. President Barack Obama) for her community service this year,” said historical society and Land of Oz executive director JoAnne Mansell. “We really feel that the Dorothy program is one of the best in the country.”  Potential Dorothys, though, have to be determined to get to the Land of Oz. The process requires many of the same things any other job would ask: paperwork, references and an interview. It doesn’t require the Judy Garland-look, and Dorothy can be any color. “We have girls from every walk of life there is in this town,” Mansell said, who loves the cultural diversity on the Dorothy roster. “Being African-American and also a Dorothy will help me face racial adversity,” Kyana said, “and, hopefully, this experience will help me grow as a person.”

Sequel of Wizard of Oz to premiere in Kansas  A film that suggests what might have happened to Dorothy after she returned from Oz will premiere next weekend in Kingman, where it was filmed. Director Hugh Gross says the film includes most of the iconic characters of “The Wizard of Oz.” The Hutchinson News reports that it tells the story of a 12-year-old girl named Elizabeth who lives in an orphanage in Kingman and has adopted the persona of Dorothy. Things aren’t going well in Oz, and the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion, travel back to Kansas to reunite with Dorothy. Gross declined to talk much about the story, but does promise a happy ending. It premieres next Saturday at the Kingman Theater.

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