Oz in the News 12.4.11

A wickedly funky Wizard of Oz  Instead of the classic Harold Arlen/E.Y. Harburg songs famous from the 1939 movie, what we get here is the usual mix of songs that will alternately please and puzzle the grownups in the audience: Lady Gaga’s Born This Way starts the show, while Selena Gomez’s Everything is Not What It Seems and Shawn Desman’s Night Like This get sung in vaguely congruous situations later on. Safety Dance from Men Without Hats and Sweet Dreams were two tunes even I recognized without having to Google the lyrics. Director Tracey Flye keeps the action moving at a swift pace (but for a sluggish stretch in the first act) while Marc Kimelman has a few moments of genius in his athletic choreography – notably when Dorothy and Donny take a ride around Oz on a pair of human bikes.

Judy Garland’s ‘Legendary Film Career’   This handsome coffee-table book is the latest effort by author and Emmy-winning documentarian John Fricke to keep Garland in the public imagination. A Milwaukee expatriate, Fricke is a tireless advocate for the actress and singer, who died in 1969 just as he was getting out of John Marshall High School. If his enthusiasm sometimes runs away from him, his perspective is always tethered to the reality of Garland’s charisma. Fricke will discuss his book following screenings of Judy Garland’s Meet Me in St. Louis 6:30 p.m. Dec. 9 and 1 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Rosebud Cinema. Both events are fund-raisers for the John Marshall Alumni Association.


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