Oz in the News 8.1.11

The Yellow Brick Road  Much like Charlie Smalls and William F. Brown’s The Wiz, which told the tale of an African-American Dorothy and her friends utilizing a 1970s funk-based score, Yellow Brick Road creators Mando Alvarado, Jaime Lozano, and Tommy Newman have incorporated the sounds of contemporary Latin musical styles in their reimagining, which now focuses on a spirited Latina teenager from Chicago.

‘Oz’ Starts Filming, ‘Great And Powerful’ Plot Revealed  “Oz The Great and Powerful” imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved character, the Wizard of Oz. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.

Heirs to Munchkin actor sue, allege he was bilked by caretaker, 3 others  When Mickey Carroll, best known as a Munchkin — one of the little people in the movie “The Wizard of Oz” — died two years ago, his heirs hired private detectives to find out what happened to his estate.This week, Carroll’s nieces and nephews sued his former caretaker and three of her friends, accusing the four of bilking Carroll out of more than $500,000.

Michael Crawford Extends in THE WIZARD OF OZ to Feb. 2012 According to the star’s official website, Michael Crawford has just extended in the hit London production of THE WIZARD OF OZ through February 5, 2012. Audiences have been following the yellow brick road over the rainbow to see Crawford and Danielle Hope (as Dorothy), winner of BBC TV’s Over the Rainbow, at The London Palladium where the show began previews in early February and opened in March to great reviews.

Fall Festival to feature Wizard of Oz costume competition  The 43rd Annual Frankfort Fall Festival is set to begin Saturday September 3 in historical downtown Frankfort, Illinois and run through Labor Day weekend. In the spirit of the Fest’s theme, “Over the Rainbow”, the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce will host a Wizard of Oz Costume Contest at 3 p.m., Saturday, September 3rd, on Breidert’s Green. The Chamber welcomes participants of all ages to come out and compete for a chance to ride on the official Fall Festival float during Sunday’s Labor Day parade. “I expect we will see a lot of Dorothy’s, but we really want to see all the characters. It will be a lot of fun for everyone to see the Good Witch, the Wizard, some munchkins, and even a flying monkey,” said Fall Festival volunteer, Tim Howe.

The Wizard of Oz at The Puppet Co.  As a former Walt Disney World puppeteer, reviewing The Wizard of Oz, as presented by the Puppet Co. in Glen Echo Park, was a welcome task. My daughters and I found this theater and its performers delivering old-fashioned family entertainment at its most charming. The cast includes Christopher Piper, Nora Achrati, Eric Brooks, and Allan Stevens, all of whom have a way with engaging children ala ‘Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.’ The theater itself is the brainchild of founders Christopher Piper and Allan Stevens.

WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ Plays American Theatre of Actors, 10/17-28  Swept from Kansas to the Emerald City of Seattle & making her way to the Great White Way, Stage Entertainment Introduces Sarah May Shaffer as Dorothy Gale in a new Musical of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Adapted and directed by Michael Gershowitz with Music and Lyrics by Casey Wood. Also including songs from the 1902 stage musical by L.Frank Baum & Paul Tietjen; adapted, updated, & rearranged. Additional lyrics by Michael G, Lindsey Cunningham.

Meet Norwich’s leading man  Penned by David Lambert, Dorothy and the Princess of Oz is a sequel to the famous book and film, based on L Frank Baum’s writings. All sorts of things are going wrong – Dorothy’s aunt and uncle’s farm is mortgaged to the hilt and an army is about to take over the Emerald City. Their only hope is the Lost Princess, whose powers can bring everything back to normal, and so Dorothy embarks on a quest to find her so she can save her friends and her home. As David explains, he had plenty of inspiration. “A lot of people don’t realise that L Frank Baum, who wrote the Wizard of Oz, wrote 13 other books about Oz. They were phenomenally successful in the early years of the 20th century and I’ve taken ideas from about six of them. I’ve mingled them all together and sprinkled a bit of fairy dust over the top.”

Up close and personal with ‘Pawn Stars’ at Mount Airy  Fred Trust, of Baltimore, came with several books that were written by L. Frank Baum, author of “The Wizard of Oz.” All of the books Trust brought were variations of “The Wizard of Oz” theme. They were first editions, written by Baum at the turn of the 20th century. Harrison gave the books a serious study. Instead of making Trust an immediate offer, Harrison asked Trust to appear on “Pawn Stars.” Harrison said he would have a special expert on such books appear on the show with Trust. Harrison said that maybe he and Trust could make a deal once that expert gives his opinion on the books. Trust said he was elated.

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