Monthly Archives: September 2011

Oz in the News 9.30.11

The Force will be in costume for sci-fi exhibit  Aliens, stormtroopers and ghostbusters will invade Tampa Saturday afternoon for the opening of a science-fiction themed exhibit at the Tampa Bay History Center. This traveling exhibit of more than 40 costumes and props from pop culture history will be on display through January on the third floor of the History Center. In the collection are items from iconic films and characters such as the Wicked Witch’s hat from “The Wizard of Oz,” Darth Vadar’s cape, helmet and light saber from “Star Wars,” Indiana Jones’ leather jacket and whip, Luke Skywalker’s severed hand and light saber and Robin’s costume from the 1966 “Batman” TV series.

Oztoberfest returns with Muchkins and more  Oztoberfest, the annual celebration of “The Wizard of Oz” and its legacy and influence, returns this weekend to Wamego, which with its Oz Museum has embraced the Kansas ties to L. Frank Baum’s famed series of books and the classic MGM movie musical they spawned. The weekend event will include autograph sessions with two of the four surviving little people and the widow of another who portrayed a Munchkin in the 1939 movie.

A-Listers Including Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman, Anne Hathaway Lining Up to Record Audiobooks is going Hollywood, enlisting a roster of A-list stars to record a new line of audiobooks drawn from famous works of literature. Stars who’ve signed up to read great books include Nicole Kidman, who won an Oscar for playing Virginia Woolf in The Hours and who will be reading Woolf’s To the Lighthouse; Anne Hathaway, who is lending her voice to L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; and Dustin Hoffman, who will read Jerzy Kosinski’s Being There.

Caldwell hosts high school marching band showcase  The largest field ever assembled for the USSBA Showcase Band competition will converge on the Caldwell High School athletic field Saturday. The event, sponsored by the Caldwell High School Marching Band and Caldwell Band Boosters, features 20 top-notch marching bands from throughout the Treasure Valley and beyond. This year’s Marching Cougars are 75 members strong, consisting of winds, percussion, color guard and characters from The Wizard of Oz. The band’s musical show features music from both the blockbuster musical “Wicked” and “The Wizard of Oz.” It is entitled, “A Tale of Oz.” Music includes: “The Overture,” “The Twister,” “No One Mourns the Wicked,” “Follow the Yellow Brick Road,” “If I Only Had a Brain,” “March of the Winkies,” “No Good Deed” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Oz parody is howling good fun  Jordan Richardson along with former artistic director Eric Hoit, has written and is also directing the latest production, “The Werewolf of Dr. Oz,” a crazy and silly take-off on elements of the “Wizard of Oz.” What the pair have written is a very funny tale of Donny Gale (Mike Fiore), who is scratched by a werewolf tooth and starts turning into one. In his adventure to find a cure, Donny runs across some crazy characters, while falling in love with the perky Judy June Jones.

Oz in the News 9.28.11

Psych Ward: The Wizard of Oz  “We escaped. Had no choice, really. Cat and horse or not, they were still part of our group and planting them in the ground was just not acceptable. So we ferried ourselves out, fast as we could. And the Mangaboos, they gave chase. However, gravity got to be too much for them the higher we went and they had to give up. So we all survived, Dorothy, her uncle, Jim, Eureka, and myself. Survived, but…things grew worse. There were bears, and gargoyles, and dragons, and invisibility, and a bearded man, and that was even before we get back to Oz and the pigs became trouble.”

Library highlights censorship with ‘banned’ book season  They may seem harmless today but books including Black Beauty, Harry Potter, Lady Chatterley’s Lover and The Wizard of Oz were at one time banned for being dangerous, too sexy or subversive. L Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was banned by many libraries in various American states for different reasons – in the south because of witches being referred to as “good” and under McCarthyism for its perceived socialist values.
WMS to Unveil Strongest, Most Diverse Gaming Content Portfolio at 2011 Global Gaming Expo  The new THE WIZARD OF OZ Journey to Oz theme is WMS’ largest adventure for THE WIZARD OF OZ brand yet, offering for the first time for THE WIZARD OF OZ brand one of the most player-popular game mechanics in the industry, a spinning wheel. This exciting slot game is packed with exciting technologies, including Collaborative Gaming(TM) technology, surround sound gaming chairs, a wide-area progressive, a base game mini-wheel and a large community video spinning wheel on dual 52″ overhead screens for unique Bigger Event(R) bonus round action. (initial approvals received in September 2011)
Herbert Hoover junior crowned Miss Majorette  Capital’s program, titled “The Wizard of Oz Meets the Wiz,” gave favorites like “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” and “Over the Rainbow” a powerful sound as band members whirled around the field among the infamous quartet as it followed the yellow brick road. Along with Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow, Capital also featured members of the Lollipop Guild on the xylophones and Glenda the Witch of the North, who performed a graceful ballet-style dance. The Wizard himself was front and center as Kelton George, Capital’s field commander, donned a bottle green top hat to lead his band through the motions. In the three-part program, Capital also performed “We’re Off to See the Wizard” and “Merry Old Land of Oz.” “So You Wanted To See the Wizard” and “A Brand New Day” were played during the second part with “Home” and “Over the Rainbow” wrapping up the grand champion performance.

Oz in the News 9.26.11

‘Wicked’ flies with digital: London production hits five years  “To an extent, we were following Broadway’s lead,” says Jo Hutchison of marketing company Jo Hutchison Intl., whose credits include “Mamma Mia,” “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” and which handled the London launch for advertising and marketing company Dewynters. “But at the time, convincing everyone that musical theater fans would communicate with each other online was definitely an uphill struggle. Theater hadn’t really done that before in a major way. The digital marketing spend for ‘Wicked’ was higher than for any other musical.” Ad dollars were shifted away from traditional avenues of major print and off-line locations, and online the show even moved well beyond the expected forum of theater-specific websites. Proof of its success is now highly visible on Twitter and Facebook, where the London production has around 40,000 fans who are constantly updated with the show’s every development on- and off-stage.

Dress witches in pink and avoid white paper to prevent racism in nuseries, expert says  From the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz to Meg, the good witch from the Meg and Mog children’s books, witches have always dressed in black. But their traditional attire has now come in for criticism from equality experts who claim it could send a negative message to toddlers in nursery and lead to racism. Instead, teachers should censor the toy box and replace the pointy black hat with a pink one, while dressing fairies, generally resplendent in pale pastels, in darker shades.

Black-Oriented Bounce TV Plays it Safe, Launching with Old Movies  When the country’s first broadcast network focused on African-Americans launches at noon Monday, it will do it not with new, original shows, but with “The Wiz,” Sidney Lumet’s 33-year-old “Wizard of Oz” update featuring Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and Nipsey Russell. “‘The Wiz’ is a brand identifier because it has resonated in the community since I was a child,” said Bounce president Ryan Glover. “As a third grader I played, in my school play, Nipsey Russell as the Tin Man. Last year my son, in his fourth-grade class, played Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow.”

Oz in the News 9.23.11

“Wizard of Oz” ruby slippers up for auction A pair of “ruby slippers” believed to have been worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz is expected to fetch at least $2 million at auction in December. The shoes are one of four sets that were created for the actress for the 1939 film. They are marked “#7 July Garland,” have leather soles painted red and are described as in mint condition but with light scuffs on the soles, notes Reuters.  The “crystal ball” used by the Wicked Witch of the West in Oz is also being auctioned by Profiles in History. It is expected to generate between $40,000 and $60,000. And in yet another auction — this one of Debbie Reynolds‘ memorabilia collection — Garland’s original blue and white gingham test dress with puff-sleeved white blouse from the first two weeks of Oz filming, plus the matching ruby slippers in the “Arabian test” pattern are up for sale.

Marvel’s DOROTHY & THE WIZARD Return to OZ  “To say that Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz is one of the darkest Oz books is no joke. The characters are in danger of imminent death in nearly every chapter. Baum’s evocation of the underground caverns they’re trapped in is oppressive. It’s weird and creepy, and those are reasons I love this book.As far as continuity issues in these comic book versions of Baum’s stories, yes, I try to smooth over the continuity gaffes. Volumes have been written trying to reconcile and integrate all the contradictions, and I certainly have all that background in mind.”

GLEE Goes Back To School  With a bevy of big Broadway anthems in tow – including HAIRSPRAY’S “You Can’t Stop The Beat”, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN’S “Anything You Can Do”, the Barbra Streisand version of “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” from THE WIZARD OF OZ by Harold Arlen, and, a song culled from a show currently in a hit revival playing eight times a week on Broadway, Cole Porter’s title song from ANYTHING GOES – last night’s GLEE was a Broadway baby’s perfect first day back to school.

Storyopolis Entertainment Showcase The Best In Children’s Content Storyopolis Entertainment (SE) is an art collector’s paradise which is now home to the popular illustrated art from The Story Book House and the highly acclaimed contemporary art from The 4th Wall Gallery. This combined collection can be viewed and purchased at Matt Abramowitz, Owner of SE with over 15 years experience in the art and children’s book industry, is proud to continue to take customers beyond the pages of children’s picture books by showcasing some of the world’s most distinctive authors and illustrators. Don’t miss their first of many “Pop Up Art Shows” with partner Bryan Embry, of the Ross Akard Galleries, on Saturday November 17, 2011 in the historic Fairmount Hotel in Downtown Dallas. This MUST SEE first show features the work of Joe Yacovetic. It will include his original paintings of Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz .

Families can follow the yellow brick road to “Scary’um Aquarium”   At the month-long celebration ghouls and buoys of all ages can enjoy fish, fun and frights inside the Aquarium which will be teeming with Halloween-themed decorations, activities and special interactive displays! Kids dressed in costume will receive $2 off Aquarium admission. Special this Scary’um Aquarium, see The Wizard of Oz 4-D Experiencein the 4-D Immersion Theater.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to The Henry Ford for “The Wizard of Oz” Children’s Educational Exhibit, Opening October 1, 2011  In OZ-tober, every Saturday, visitors can come to the museum dressed as their favorite Wizard of Oz characters, participate in story time, hands-on demonstrations, make-and-take crafts and take a photo with a different character each weekend. In November, Henry Ford Museum will offer Munchkin luncheons, a special ticketed event in which children can meet their favorite Oz characters. Visit for times, tickets and character appearances.

Oz in the News 9.20.11

Festival celebrates all things Oz  “Oz is a difficult subject to handle because you have millions of Oz fans and it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the writer,” Baum said, “because you don’t want to offend the audience. And you’re dealing with a classic so what you’re doing is staying within certain parameters. No true gore or blood and guts.”


Three decades down the Yellow Brick Road  When Mary Reinhart and fellow members of the organizing committee for the annual Chesterton Wizard of Oz Festival were discussing who should be the celebrity grand marshal for this year’s parade, the decision was easy. Ryan and Roland Carroll aka “The Carroll Brothers” are the producers of a new feature film by Summertime Entertainment called “Dorothy of Oz” reaching theaters next summer and the duo are in Chesterton this weekend to soak up “everything that is Oz.”

Munchkin Midget Bar in Chicago  The late Parnell St. Aubin was just 16 when he played one of the tiny Munchkin soldiers leading the parade to herald Dorothy‘s arrival and house drop on the Wicked Witch of the East. His widow, Mary Ellen, who is in town this weekend for the festival, has faithfully attended the event almost every year. She celebrates her 91st birthday on Sept. 21. She never appeared in the classic 1939 film, but has always shared her husband’s pride for his involvement in this piece of movie history.  In later years, the tiny couple owned and operated their own bar on Chicago’s southside called The Midget Club, which was originally located at 6356 S. Kedzie Ave. and then at 4016 W. 63rd St. They owned and operated it from 1948 to 1982.

A “golden landmark”  Kathleen Sorbello Di Scenna has set herself a difficult challenge: she’s trying to save a house at 678 W. Onondaga St. in Syracuse that’s got a strong connection to L. Frank Baum, the “Wonderful Wizard of Oz” author.
Kathleen calls the house “a golden landmark in our city.” She’s the Lyman Frank Baum Foundation, a not-for-profit group trying to raise “at least $150,000 to help fix the house. The house cannot stand another harsh winter,” according to her.  This is the so-called Neal House, home to Harriet Baum and William Neal. It’s where Frank Baum met his future wife, Maud Gage, in December of 1881. “The project is now urgent,” Kathleen writes. “Please help. We’re looking for fundraisers, donations, not-profit groups, media support.” Contact her at 278-7029.

‘Wicked’ author Gregory Maguire to visit Wichita in November Maguire will make an appearance and sign copies of his new “Out of Oz” at 7 p.m. Nov. 7 at the new Forum Theatre for the Performing Arts at 147 S. Hillside. “We’re thrilled,” said Beth Golay of Watermark. She said the bookstore had this pitch for Maguire’s publicist: “We’ve had to live with ‘you’re not in Kansas anymore’ for so long, don’t you think we deserve to have him here for the final book in the Oz series?”

“Wizard of Oz”, others top BFCA’s Blu-Ray list  The greatest Blu-Ray discs of all time, according to the Broadcast Film Critics Assn., are “Apocalypse Now,” “Avatar,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” the “Planet of the Apes” box set, “The Wizard of Oz” and the complete “Lord of the Rings” set.

Gina Beck & Matt Willis Join West End Wicked, 12 Dec  The new cast of Award-winning musical Wicked has been announced with Gina Beck and Matt Willis taking over the roles of Glinda and Fiyero from 12 December 2011. The pair are joined in the cast by Lillie Flynn as Nessarose, Christopher Howell as Doctor Dillamond and Adam Pettigrew as Boq. Desmond Barrit, who first starred in Wicked in 2008, returns to the role of The Wizard.

Diablo Theatre Company Hip Hops Down the Yellow Brick Road   Taking a cue from the street by collaborating with FUNKMODE, a Pleasant Hill hip-hop centered company with a large nternet following, DTC pushes The Wizard of Oz into the present day. Witches fly, the Scarecrow bugaloos, the Tinman pops, and even Dorothy grooves beyond the skippity-hop made musical theater cliché by the 1939 film version of L. Frank Baum’s novel.

Oz in the News 9.11.11

Glinda the Good Witch Is a Nice Polish Girl from Chicago  “The metaphor I chose, the BP Bridge and the Chicago skyline as the Yellow Brick Road and the Emerald City, required a figure in the foreground to make the equation complete. Automatically I resorted to photos I’d taken of Teresa dressed in white standing in the snow last winter. She would be my Glinda the Good Witch. She would be my Billie Burke. Not because of any guidance she gave me. Not because she saved my ass from a witch or told me how to use my shoes to escape a permanent poppy field. Nope. It’s much simpler than that.”

Nathan G. Castle’s Book Launch  The Dominican priest launches his first book, “And Toto, Too: The Wizard of Oz as a Spiritual Adventure” with a reading, mini-reflection and signing. The book is a spiritual makeover of the classic film, “The Wizard of Oz” in which the canine face of God is totally Toto. Light refreshments are served and a no-host bar is available. Register for a chance to win an autographed copy of the book. Embassy Suites, 4400 S. Rural Road, Tempe. Free admission, $15 for the book. 480-897-7444.

Behind the curtain  Dr. Elliot Engel, a popular speaker, professor and author, will be at the Headquarters Library at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 to explain why L. Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz” continues to delight readers and inspire other writers and works.  Admission is $10 for the public, $5 for Friends of the Library members and $2 for students.  Engel’s most recent book is “Reigning Cats & Dogs.” Learn more about Engel at

Oz in the News 9.10.11

IDW brings graphic novels to the iBook store  The epub format is entirely different from app development. It’s much more rigid and allows for little specialized navigation. IDW has released epub-formatted books before, we have over 200 single-issue books in the Amazon Kindle store. Those are panel-by-panel books, because the same file has to work on a Kindle or inside Kindle apps on other devices. It works fine but isn’t as perfect as using an app. The reason for the big push now is that Apple recently introduced new epub formatting tricks specific to iBooks. That has led to the great looking full-page approach we’ve developed. We’ll offer the entire range of our brands in iBooks. The variety also includes Eric Shanower’s Oz series and Bloom County Library.

Emilie’s set for a return to Oz!  SOUTH Tyneside Dorothy Emilie Fleming is looking forward to heading down the yellow brick road once again this weekend.  The talented 20-year-old is joining her fellow Over the Rainbow stars to raise cash for a children’s hospice in Hinckley, Leicestershire.  “We’re putting our Dorothy dresses on for the show and we’ve all grown, so that should be fun to see how they look.  “We’ve also been racking our brains to remember the choreography – it’s been hilarious.”

Oz in the News 9.8.11

Wizard of Oz-Themed Sermon Series to be Preached at Florida Megachurch  “W,” as the series is being called, is a sort of simplified, hybrid title for fans of both the “Wizard of Oz” and “Wicked,” and the series will feature everything from the serious to the silly.  On one hand, Gramling will be tackling many important spiritual, emotional and relationship issues, examining characters in both the famous film and play as the starting point for helping his congregation to really examine themselves. On the other hand, worship services will include some fun and theatrics, including a musical performance of Kanye West’s hit-single “Heartless” by the Tin Man.

Dorothy of Oz and the festival – voice over contest information Summertime Entertainment, the production company behind the 3D CG-animated musical DOROTHY OF OZ set to bow in 2012, will have a designated area on the event’s grounds. In honor of the fest, Summertime Entertainment is holding two contests.  Festival attendees will be able to actually audition for a cameo in the film by convincing the judges in 30 seconds or less why they’d make a great character voice. Contests entrants will also have to prove (via printout or on a mobile device) that they have “liked” the film’s Facebook fan page.  And for those unable to attend the festival, fans can also submit a 30-second or less video why they should have a voiceover line in the film and post it on the DOROTHY OF OZ Facebook wall. The online contest will run from Wednesday, Sept. 7 to Saturday, Sept. 17.

Students help developmentally disabled adults follow the yellow brick road in ‘Oz’ production  The students are part of a new group called Sharing Helping Inspiring New Experiences, which provides volunteers for programs sponsored by AID in conjunction with VIP Industries. Chris Marsyla has composed an original music score for the play.

Oz in the News 9.5.11

Mila Kunis talks style, scripts and working with Justin Timberlake!  “It’s been crazy. I finished Ted, which is a Seth MacFarlane and Mark Wahlberg movie, the next day I flew to Detroit and started pre-production for Oz. Now I’m a little confused as to what country I’m in but I’ve started, stopped and am about to start shooting Oz again!  I met with Sam Raimi [the director] before James (Franco) was attached. I mean, it’s Sam Raimi, and it’s the prequel to The Wizard of Oz! It’s an amazing role, an incredible film and I’ve never done a PG13 film that I can show my kids one day.”

Book Review: Gathering the Seeds of American Writers  Once in a decade a book as good as Seeds: One Man’s Serendipitous Journey to Find the Trees That Inspired Famous American Writers from Faulkner to Kerouac, Welty to Wharton by Richard Horan appears, to astonish and delight us. From the wooded road made of golden hemlock running past L. Frank Baum’s childhood home to the lonely stump of Scout’s oak in Harper Lee’s Alabama, author Richard Horan gathers tree seeds—and stories—from the homes of America’s most treasured authors.

Oz in the News 9.4.11

WICKED Fans Should Avoid New iPhone App – At Least For Now  Fans of the musical will ove the app’s main feature: a Mosaicof 1700 production stills. These photos come from the original Broadway cast and from productions around the globe. Under Stories, you’ll learn more about the show and how it relates to L. Frank Baum’s classic story, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the 1939 movie classic, The Wizard of Oz. Finally, become engrossed in all things Wicked, by gaining access to the Broadway show’s original reviews, a Wicked timeline and more about the staging of the original production.

Animatronic Wizard Of Oz: What’s The Weirdest Thing In Your Town?  The owner, when not collecting out-of-production Furbys or plush E.T. dolls, busies himself working on the homemade painted yellow brick road and animatronic collection of “Wizard of Oz” characters he has built and installed around his backyard. Yes, this man has created the “Wizard of Oz” on his property. And once a year he invites CIVIL WAR RE-ENACTORS to stage a weekend long battle on his property. Yes, amidst fake Wicked Witches of the East and Dorothy, there is an annual Civil War reenactment. It makes perfect sense.

TSA student wins weather poster contest  Toledo School for the Arts seventh grader Reagan Shull’s severe weather poster was selected by the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness. The poster has a Wizard of Oz movie theme, showing how a home landed on the Wicked Witch of the East in a tornado. “It’s best to be careful during a tornado so you don’t end up like the Wicked Witch of the East,” Regan said.