Oz in the News 6.30.11

‘Mellow Brick Road’ video competition  Congratulations to Reed Gauthier for winning the ‘Mellow Brick Road’ video competition. Reed is a freelance animator and illustrator with some exceptional talent. If you’re a fan of cartoons like Samurai Jack and anything Disney, you’re going to love his work. Check out his portfolio here! A big thanks to the many artists out there who entered the competition! I received some truly amazing pieces of work. You can find a listing of the top five entries below, and you can watch all 44 entries here on YouTube.

L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” Narrative Film project   Inspired by some of our favorite family-oriented fantasy films – including such an eclectic array as the Harry Potter films and the Jeremy Sumpter version of Peter Pan, as well as the classic Henson films from the 1980’s such as The Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, and Walter Murch’s cult classic Return to Oz – we plan to use a mixture of puppetry and CGI to bring the famous Oz characters to life.We have already filmed parts of the movie on greenscreen with a young actress named Mariellen Kemp portraying Dorothy Gale.

The Witches Of Oz on SYFY  Newcomer Paulie Rojas stars as gutsy heroine Dorothy Gale, a successful children’s book author who quickly discovers that her popular books, inspired by stories her grandfather and uncle once told her, are based on repressed childhood memories. It turns out that the wonders of Oz are very, very real. And while skies might be blue over the rainbow, they’re about to turn dark in New York city as the Wicked Witch of the West has come to town with a dastardly plan to take over the world. Boasting an impressive cast including Christopher Lloyd, Jason Mewes, Sean Astin and Billy Boyd, this is an exciting twist on a much-loved tale.

Andrew Lloyd Webber To Bring ‘The Wizard of Oz’ To Broadway  According to Bill Kenwright, who is co-producing the West End production currently playing at the London Palladium, recently told Playbill, “Since we opened, it has been difficult, if not impossible, to get tickets for any of the three weekend performances that always play to capacity; we’ve averaged just below 85 percent in a two-and-a-quarter-thousand-seat theatre, and returned a third of the capitalization just 12 weeks after the opening night. It’s a hit!” No timeline for the production has been set, but Kenwright did reveal that they’re in negotiations with “a major star” for the Broadway run.

Stephanie Mills is on the comeback trail at Essence Fest  “I was madly in love with Michael (Jackson). Me and about a billion other girls. The only difference is I got a chance to be around him and become really good friends with him. No one could have told me I wasn’t going to marry Michael. All the girls in class, one loved Marlon, one loved Jackie. I was always in love with Michael. So when I got to meet him and be around him, I was in heaven. It was a special time in my life.”

TheatreWorks USA Holds THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD Benefit, 7/25  Click your heels together “tres veces” and take a magical journey with THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD, an all-new salsa and merengue-infused musical inspired by The Wizard of Oz. In Chicago, the windy city, Dora Inez Garza is preparing for her fifteenth birthday celebration — a traditional quinceanera. Her mother and uncles have worked so hard to make it an exciting fiesta for her, but Dora, feeling caught between the expectations of her heritage and her desire to be like any other contemporary American teenager, doesn’t understand why the tradition is so important to her family. With a little help from a mysterious woman and her enchanted gift, Dora is swept up into a gran tornado that drops her (and her little chiuahua, too) in a magical world where she must slip on the ruby zapatillas and take a journey of self-discovery, dancing down the yellow brick road.

Looking back at Return To Oz  If not an outright porky pie, then the DVD blurb on Disney’s 1985 Return To Oz is, at the very least, misleading. “If you loved The Wizard Of Oz,” it promises, “you’ll love accompanying Dorothy on this second thrilling adventure.” A more fitting advert might be, ‘If you loved Mulholland Drive, but thought it could do with less girl-on-girl action and more talking chickens, you’ll love accompanying Dorothy through this scary ass mess of a film.’ Not quite as pithy, perhaps, but a bit more honest.

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