Monthly Archives: July 2011

Oz in the News 7.31.11

Dorothy of Oz footage promises a sugary sweet return to Frank Baum’s world  Make no mistake – this is a kid’s movie through and through. While the footage I saw didn’t feature a ton of dialogue, this doesn’t seem like the kind of movie that’s going to feature a lot of Shrek style pop culture references or double entendres, which admittedly makes it pretty much automatically better than 85% of kid’s entertainment these day. The movie seems intent to capture the whimsy and weirdness at the heart of the Baum books. The movie is also a musical, and Bryan Adams has written some pretty beautiful songs for Michele and Hilty to sing.

Lea Michele’s New Song From ‘Dorothy of OZ’ Unleashed  Lea Michele has a new song titled “When the World Turns Upside Down”, and it’s released at 2011 San Diego Comic-Con over the weekend. Recorded for “Dorothy of OZ” soundtrack, it has been made available for listening pleasure via audio stream which hit the web recently.

SDCC 2011: ‘Dorothy Of Oz’ Panel With Patrick Stewart & Megan Hilty   Hilty described her role of the China Princess as a tremendous opportunity for her to work with an amazing legendary cast. For her animation requires a different skill set than in any other medium. She feels liberated by the fact that in voiceover one can never push the limits too far. Sir Patrick Stewart was asked what took him so long to come to Comic–Con, and he jokingly said he thought he had been already. He’s always loved watching and performing in animation, and feels the most amazing work in cinema is currently being done in that medium. He was drawn to the project because of its iconic association with the classic novel. Both he & Hilty feel people in animation are the nicest people to work with.

Patrick Stewart Makes Comic-Con Debut at ‘Dorothy of Oz’ Panel  “First of all, can I just point out that I’m a Broadway girl too?” Stewart quipped, referring to his “Dorothy” co-star, “Wicked” veteran Megan Hilty, who was also on the panel. “You see, I thought I’d been here already; it was my publicist who told me I wasn’t,” Stewart quipped. “I must’ve come down here for a party, and thought I was at Comic-Con.” Stewart’s maiden voyage to Comic-Con turned out to be a memorable one, and not just for the adoring audience that greeted him with a standing ovation in the packed Hall H. During the course of the panel, Hilty led the crowd in serenading Stewart — who turned 71 on July 13 — with a rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

My Saturday Comic-Con Report: “We” Won Eisner Awards!  On Friday night, Eric Shanower and Jim McCann both won Eisner Awards (which are comicdom’s highest honors). Eric won for “Best Adaptation from Another Work” for Marvel Comics’ The Marvelous Land of Oz, by L. Frank Baum which he adapted and Skottie Young illustrated (Skottie also won an Eisner as “Best Penciler/Inker”). And as fate would have it, Eric appeared at the Prism booth just earlier that day signing copies of both Oz collections that have been published by Marvel.

Celebrating the wonderful ‘Wizard of Oz’  “An Oz Affaire” event continues today with a “Wizard’s Luncheon” at the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa at 11 a.m. Robert A. Baum, great-grandson of “Wizard of Oz” author L. Frank Baum, will be on hand to discuss the film. Costumed characters from the film will be on hand for pictures. There will also be live art and music and drawings of “Oz” characters up for raffle. Robert A. Baum said it was hard to believe that his great-grandfather wrote “The Wizard of Oz” in 1900, and that it’s still has fresh today as it was back then. “(L. Frank) would be totally amazed how popular it still is today,” he said.

Celebrating Judy Garland, 75 Years After Her Screen Debut   “It becomes so interesting I think to people because she is — and this is a word that everybody always uses to define her — she is so real as an actress. She is always so honest in what she’s doing as a singer or as an actress. There is no fourth wall. She grew up in that vaudeville tradition where you went out and did it for the audience. And through some god-given amalgam of talent and charisma, all translates onto video tape. A lot of actors don’t have that. I think it also helps that she was absolutely the best at what she did. Nobody else had quite the combination of singing, dancing, acting and comedy talent at MGM or anywhere else. One of the nice points of what this retrospective brings up is that Judy worked for 45 of her 47 years. Forty of those years, from 1929 to 1969, are captured on film.”

A trip down the Yellow Brick Road leads to pet adoption  “Toto came as a rescue dog from the Open Door Animal Sanctuary and is kind of a mess sometimes, being just a puppy, but I fell in love with her and decided to keep her,” said Courtney, of Manchester, on a recent Friday afternoon before an evening show.

Search for ‘Surrender Dorothy’ scrawler pulls back curtain on schoolgirl prank  If someone confided to you that he was the person responsible for arguably the single most famous graffito in the Washington area — “Surrender Dorothy” painted on a railroad bridge near the Mormon Temple — how would you react? Would you buy him a drink? Would you call the police? Would you tell Answer Man?  Answer Man asks because of the column he wrote last month, in which he recounted what was known about “Surrender Dorothy” and invited its creator to get in touch. No one would admit to painting the message over the Beltway, but three people said they had met the person who did it.

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Oz in the News 7.29.11

International Wizard of Oz Convention August 5 to 7  “We love a reason to get together, and having a yellow brick road to follow just seems like a perfect fit for our members,” Jane Albright, member of the club, said. Albright has been to other yellow brick roads around the country in places like South Dakota, New York and Kansas, but the atmosphere atop Beech Mountain is different, she said.
“They aren’t the same. They are in the middle of a mall, town or park,” Albright said. “To walk down the yellow brick road in North Carolina feels very much like [you are] Dorothy in Oz [because] you are surrounded by an incredible natural landscape. It’s surreal.”

Lea Michele To Reveals Dorothy Of Oz Songs At Comic-Con  Glee’s Lea Michele is due to appear at Comic-Con 2011 to perform songs from her new, 3D, movie adaptation of Wizard Of Oz titled ‘Dorothy Of Oz’. The actress/ singer, who trained on Braodway, will appear at the convention on Saturday (July 23), to perform the songs which were written by Bryan Adams.

Urban Pup is off to see the wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Toto!  Urban Pup Managing Director Denis Kelly, who attended The Wizard of Oz musical said ‘The show was superb and so was Toto, he played his part to perfection and I am pleased to report that Urban Pup’s  Green Crystal collar and lead set looked like a million dollars. Against the backdrop of the London Palladium plus an amazing set and with a wonderful cast Urban Pup’s Green Crystal collar and lead set fitted in perfectly.’   Denis added, ‘We are delighted to be partners to this great show. As with all Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals anyone paying a visit to the world famous London Palladium will be in for a great evening’s entertainment, kids will love it and so will those big kids, better known as the parents!’

Zambelli Fireworks to Light Up Prestigious International Competition With The Wizard of Oz  Zambelli’s performance, slated for Wednesday, July 20th in Quebec, will pay tribute to one of the great American film classics, The Wizard of Oz.  The sparkling rendition promises to leave the audience breathless as they follow the yellow brick road into the night sky, then fly off with Dorothy to the Emerald City. “We are extremely excited and proud to be a part of this world renowned competition,” said George R. Zambelli, Jr. MD, Zambelli Chairman. “To be one of only eight global companies invited to one the most prestigious competitions of its kind in the world, and to be the sole representative for the United States, is an immense honor. It’s like making the World Cup Finals of fireworks competitions.”

A wonderful guide to 11 Oz films you may be seeing in theaters soon  Fairy-tale fever seems to have struck Hollywood, with all signs pointing to the hallowed green halls of the Emerald City. Oz has suddenly become the premier destination for a battalion of producers, directors and studios stampeding to stake their claim for the next lucrative franchise from the lands of children’s literature. An avalanche of sequels, prequels and just plain freaky distortions of the original material looms just over the rainbow, including live action, CGI, stop-motion animation, classically adapted, steampunk renditions, dark takes and contemporary visitations. Nothing is sacred in the magical land of Oz anymore.

Lloyd Webber’s Latest Creation: Breathing Space  Andrew Lloyd Webber has earned seven Tony Awards, a knighthood and hundreds of millions of dollars for writing some of the most popular musicals of all time, from his 1968 breakthrough, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” to “The Phantom of the Opera,” the longest-running show ever on Broadway. Nearly as legendary is his ego, a self-confidence worthy of an impresario whose success has long emboldened him to think on grand scales. Which is why it was hard to believe Mr. Lloyd Webber when he said, during a recent interview, that he may stop involving himself in future productions of his work.

“Judy at Carnegie Hall”  It’s hard to believe, but in the 30-plus years of the CD era the original album version of “Judy at Carnegie Hall” has never been available in digital format. From its first incarnation on CD in 1987 until now, every CD release has strayed from that original two record vinyl album. It must be noted that the vinyl version is what the legacy of “Judy at Carnegie Hall” was based on for over 25 years, won the five Grammy’s, the accolades and the enduring legend. However, since 1987, an entire generation of fans has grown up knowing only the experience of the complete CD versions, and not the original album. This 2012 JSP Records release brings the recording full circle by premiering the original mono album on CD. Fans who only know the complete CD releases are in for a treat. The original album is still a singular aural experience like none other.

Oz in the News 7.16.11

Giant steel rainbow to soar over Sony studio What better way to celebrate the joy of filmmaking, especially by the studio that brought us The Wizard of Oz, than with a gigantic rainbow? As part of Culver City’s Art in Public Places requirement, Sony Pictures will build the massive steel-and-aluminum structure near its Madison Avenue gate. The arch will reach nine stories high, span 188 feet, and will be finished with a resin-based paint to withstand the elements. Sony chose Chicago-based artist Tony Tasset to design the sculpture, which they wanted to be “accessible and joyful.” Tasset seemed a logical choice, since he is responsible for other similarly oversized and humorous public artworks, including a gigantic eyeball in Pritzker Park, Chicago, and an immense Paul Revere at Governors State University in Illinois.

DOROTHY OF OZ Cast to Make Appearance at Comic Con  During the panel “Further Over the Rainbow: A First Look at Dorothy of Oz,” approximately 6500 lucky fans will have a chance to be the first to see a first reveal of footage and clips, and exclusive cast out-takes from the 2012 film starring Lea Michele (Dorothy), Martin Short (The Jester), Jim Belushi (Lion), Dan Aykroyd (Scarecrow), Kelsey Grammer (The Tin Man), Megan Hilty (China Princess), Hugh Dancy (Marshall Mallow), Oliver Platt (Wiser the Owl), and Patrick Stewart (Tugg). The panel will be moderated by “Access Hollywood’s” Scott Mantz. The event will take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, July 23 at San Diego Convention Center’s Hall H.

Patrick Stewart Talks about His Character “Tugg” in the 3D CG-Animated Musical DOROTHY OF OZ  In addition, we have exclusive video of him speaking about his character “Tugg”.  Stewart also talks about working again with fellow voice actors Kelsey Grammer and Martin Short and what he finds so appealing about animation and Dorothy of Oz in particular.  Hit the jump to check out the exclusive video.  The producers of the film are Summertime Entertainment, Ryan Carroll, Roland Carroll and Bonne Radford.  Dorothy of Oz is set to arrive sometime in 2012.

Friend of Dorothy #2  The first issue of this series came out all the way back in September, so let’s review a bit: the comic is created by Brian Anderson, creator of “So Super Duper,” the relentlessly funny and unquestioningly LGBTQ-positive superhero webcomic. “Friend of Dorothy” is Brian’s newest project — part superhero comic, part tribute to “The Wizard of Oz,” part character study of life for gay teens.  It’s funny and exciting, with solid dialogue and pretty good characterization. I love the way Mason keeps irritating Dodo with his chatterbox tendencies, and the little details about all of Scott-John’s Oz-related weapons. The Mankeys and their mind-controlled victims are really creepy. And I like the relatively low-level of angst on display here — Scott-John and Mason are both out-of-the-closet, and though they may not be entirely happy with how their families may have reacted to their sexual orientation, they don’t let that get in the way of doing what needs to be done, whether that involves hitting bad guys with axes, scolding the increasingly grumpy Dodo about keeping secrets from them, or even just unashamedly expressing their love for each other. They’re relatively badass — kinda giggly badass, but badass nonetheless.

Oz in the News 7.15.11

Oz The Great And Powerful’s Logo Revealed  Mad Men actress Abigail Spencer tweeted a photo of a sign taken on the set of Oz with the hashtag #thisishappening. Spencer plays Mrs. Hamilton in Raimi’s film, a woman who reportedly comes under the spell of a magician (Franco) as he is performing in Kansas. As the story will go, Franco’s character will ride in a hot air balloon that gets caught in a storm, transporting him to the magical land of Oz. Once there, in the land over the rainbow, he finds himself trapped in a power struggle between three witches (Williams, Weisz and Kunis).

Return to ‘Oz’  The Fox Performing Arts Center and the Mission Inn will follow the Yellow Brick Road back to 1939 next weekend with three events that celebrate “The Wizard of Oz.”  “An Oz Affaire” begins July 22 with a 7 p.m. dessert reception, featuring performances by singer Sam Harris and artist Joe Yakovetic. Special guests include Margaret Pellegrini, who played a Munchkin in the classic film, and Robert Baum, a descendant of “Oz” novelist L. Frank Baum.  An “Oz” luncheon at the Mission Inn follows at 11:30 a.m. July 23, with a screening of the film back at the Fox at 2 p.m.

‘The Yellow Brick Road’ Latin kids’ musical riffs off ‘The Wizard of Oz’  “Dora is embarrassed about who she is, which is a typical state for adolescents,” says Virginia Cavaliere, who plays Dora. “She’s searching for answers, like every teenager.” She’s grappling with old-school traditions and new ways. Her benchmark 15th birthday makes that struggle a priority. A curandera, a woman who practices folk medicine, sees Dora rebelling against her quinceañera and sends her to Oz to deal with her conflicted feelings. Dora dances down the you-know-what to you-know-where to the beat of mambo and merengue-infused songs by Jaime Lozano and Tommy Newman, who also worked on the book. There, right on cue, she meets Scarecrow (Ryan Duncan), who can’t keep English and Spanish straight; Tino (Frank Viveros), a walking-talking food cart made from tin who lacks passion, and a Mountain Lion (Cedric Leiba Jr.) with zero faith in himself.

Oz in the News 7.14.11

A fine romance celebrates ‘Great American Songbook’  “A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs, 1910-1965,” is a collection of playbills, movie posters and publicity photographs that pay homage to the composers who wrote music and lyrics that became part of popular culture and idioms in American language. The show, based on a 2009 book of the same title written by David Lehman, starts Friday at the library, 19 Ross St., Batavia. It continues through Aug. 26 and can be viewed during library hours. The traveling exhibit, courtesy of the American Library Association, features works of iconic composers, musicians and playwrights such as Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein. Posters of films that featured their scores are also part of the show.

Judy Garland: All Singin’, All Dancin’, All Judy  This autumn marks the 75th anniversary of Judy Garland’s feature film debut (Pigskin Parade, 1936). It was the onset of a motion picture career ultimately unsurpassed in its timeless, classic amalgam of singing, dancing, comedy, and drama. In celebration, The Film Society of Lincoln Center joins forces with The Paley Center to present screenings of much of Judy’s movie and television achievement. The Garland events in both venues will be highlighted by special introductions, discussions, and exhibitions. Don’t miss these opportunities to share what critics have ceaselessly called the “magic” of Judy Garland!

On a trip to LA, consider a stay in Munchkinland  The hotel’s history is rife with rumors and legends, some of them true. Most of the 124 “little people” playing Munchkins stayed there in 1938 while “Wizard of Oz” was filmed. In that same year, “Gone With the Wind” was shot at the same studio. “The Culver transports the traveler back in time,” said producer Jon Katzman, who is more than familiar with the hotel’s history as the third generation of his family in the movie business. “Throughout the hotel’s idiosyncratic nooks and crannies, one can feel the history as if stars and starlets were sipping mint juleps across the hallway.”

Former FHSU professor pens new novel   “It is an Oz Book, so it is a children’s book, but it isn’t for children,” Sackett said. “It doesn’t have sex or anything in it, but it deals with philosophical themes, political themes and psychological themes. All of this could be completely lost on a kid.” In the book, Adolf Hitler rallies portions of the Oz population to his side. After becoming the Reichschancellor of Oogaboo, he turns its people into a military unit. He incorporates the people of Runnymead, who like to run, into his Panzer unit and incorporates the winged monkeys into his Luftwaffe division.

Oz in the News 7.13.11

Steampunk ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Debuts July 21  “The Wizard of Oz” production’s look is inspired by Steampunk, a science fiction genre influenced by the Wild West and Victorian Britain. Steampunk is a science fiction concept based off of the idea of “what if” the people of the Victorian era had access to the advanced technology of today,” says Christopher P. Tyner, managing artistic director for Evansville Civic Theatre and director of “The Wizard of Oz.”  “My goal in creating this new visualization of Oz is to entice audiences to see what can be done with the magic of theatre; that you can take something you have loved since you were a child and bring it forward to the next generation in a new and exciting way,” Tyner says.

Smilin’ Through: The Singles Collection 1936-1947  This 4-disc deluxe set is the first-ever complete anthology of Judy’s singles at Decca Records that includes all her master takes and known alternates. Seven alternate tracks make their CD debut here.  Until now, some alternate takes were only available on the 1984 LP “From The Decca Vaults.” Some others were mistakenly presented as the “A” takes when released by Decca on LP. In 1994, MCA Records released “Judy Garland – The Complete Decca Masters (plus)” that was missing several of these alternates. Additionally, the sound quality on many of the tracks on that set was sub-par to what had previously been released on CD.

San Diego Comic Con 2011: Selected Movie Panels on Sunday  Following last year’s pattern, the last day of San Diego Comic Con 2011 is all about kids. With the 8th annual San Diego International Children’s Film Festival being kicked off on Sunday, July 24, about 60 short films from around the world are brought to the convention in a presentation that runs from 10:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M.  “Tom and Jerry & The Wizard of Oz”, which will be available on Blu-Ray Combo Pack and DVD on August 23, will be premiered in a screening taking place at Room 6A.

Land of Oz comes to Boston Children’s Museum  In this interactive walk-through exhibition, fans of all ages can experience elements of the classic film. See a replica of Dorothy’s famous Ruby Slippers as well as authentic photos from the film. Move on to the Gale Farm and its simulated petting zoo, where guests can experience the feel of various farm animals. In Dorothy’s slanted bedroom, you can create your own tornado. At the Emerald City, use a kaleidoscope-like device to change the hue of the horse of a different color. Finally, stop by the Wicked Witch of the West’s castle, where younger visitors can ride the witch’s bicycle and use ropes to scale the side of the fortress to reach her coveted broom. Along the way, you’ll meet Dorothy’s friends the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion.

Ambrose Schindler followed his own road to success at USC and beyond  Time, in its game report, called Schindler a “superstar” who had “spurned all offers to play pro football.” Schindler by then had launched a fledgling film career, serving most notably as the stunt double for actor Jack Haley (the Tin Man) in “The Wizard of Oz.” In one scene, which of course had to be reshot, an overly exuberant Schindler pulled loose the Cowardly Lion’s tail as they climbed toward a mountaintop castle to rescue Dorothy from the Wicked Witch of the West. “Every time you see the Tin Man in a compromising, risky situation, i.e. climbing that mountain, that’s my dad,” Charlie Schindler notes. “They used strong, in-shape young jocks before there were such things as professional stunt doubles.” Schindler calls his stunt work “a lot of fun,” but he spurned Hollywood too, opting for a career in coaching.

Oz in the News 7.10.11

IDW Announces Comic-Con Exclusives  In anticipation of Comic-Con International: San Diego 2011, IDW Publishing today announced the company’s Comic-Con exclusives, with items ranging from exclusive covers to LOCKE & KEY keys. Many of these items will only be made available for the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con. Dorothy of Oz Prequel. • Get a sneak peek at the Dorothy of Oz animated feature film coming in 2012 in the free preview comic!  • Featuring a star-studded cast, including Lea Michele, Martin Short and Patrick Stewart, the film draws inspiration from the classic story “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by Frank L. Baum and the Oz adventure book series written by his great-grandson Roger S. Baum. • DOROTHY OF OZ preview comic (FREE) will be available at the IDW booth #2643 during Comic-Con, while supplies last.

Walk for Life 2011. We’re off to see the Wizard!  On June 5th Londoners will be taking to the streets in support of Terrence Higgins Trust and people living with HIV for the 22nd annual Walk for Life. Taking in a 10K route that encompasses some of London’s most stunning landmarks, the annual Walk for Life event raises vital funds for people living with HIV in poverty.Walk for Life has always featured a strong fancy dress element, and this year the theme is the Wizard of Oz, turning London’s grey streets yellow for one special day in a pageant of colour and music. Expect to see a fair share of celebrities too;, past walkers have included Danni Minogue, Liz McClarnon and The Feeling.