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.”

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