Monthly Archives: January 2012

Oz in the News 1.31.12

Cairn terrier – Toto’s breed – proposed as state dog of Kansas  State Rep. Ed Trimmer, D-Winfield,  introduced House Bill No. 251.“They just thought we needed a state dog,” Trimmer said Thursday. “It is one of those things that when a constituent asks you, you do.  “I realize we have very critical, critical issues at the state level. But our constituents and their issues are very important to them and that’s why I introduced it for them.”

Casting Announced for New Musical The Mermaids’ Tale, Adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s “Sea Fairies”  The Mermaids’ Tale, according to FACT, “involves a teacher who assigns his students a task of reading and reporting on a novel published in 1911, the year their school opened. To the surprise of both the students and teacher the class all choose the same book. As a result, they decide to do an impromptu play and set it in the 21st century in an all-singing, all-dancing ‘Glee’-style production. Everyone, including the teacher and the school custodian participate in the tale of a sea captain who goes under the sea to investigate why ‘no one who has ever seen a mermaid lived to tell the tale.’ Their adventures involve a myriad of classic characters so much associated with Baum’s books of fantasy.”

Oz in the News 1.29.12

Is James Franco’s Oz Really Different From The Wizard of Oz?  “It’s before the Scarecrow and the Tin Man and Dorothy and all that,” Abigail Spencer, who plays the Wizard’s assistant May, told me at the recent L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center benefit for homeless youth services at the Sunset Tower hotel. “It really goes deeper into how that story came to be. “It really is what the books are based on,” she added. “This is the real story and I think this is actually what the writer [L. Frank Baum] intended when he wrote them.”

‘Pinocchio’ on his way to Castlecomer – oh, yes he is!  Pinocchio Escapes from Oz is this year’s quest, and director/ Dame John Coogan says it’s all coming together nicely for the show that opens on Tuesday night. “The story goes that Geppetto is after making the puppet Pinocchio come to life, but then Pinocchio gets fed up with what’s happening in the town of Twinkletrot,” he explains. “So the two comics Fagin and Snatch, played by Chubby Brennan and Midgy Dowd, come to town and persuade Pinocchio to come to the Land of Oz to have a better life. “They bring him to the wicked witch Esmerelda, who has turned ‘good’ because Dumbledore the wizard has cast a spell on her – but if they bring someone who is good, she will turn back to evil,” he says. So the plan of action is that Dorothy sets off to save Pinocchio, along with the Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow – and of course no story would be complete without Agnes the Dame.

Oz in the News 1.25.12

Strictly over the rainbow! Russell Grant swaps sequins for emeralds as he lands the part of the Wizard of Oz in the West End  Grant will step into Michael Crawford’s shoes for a 12-week run at the London Palladium in the Andrew Lloyd Webber production. Grant, 60, will also play the character of Professor Marvel. He said: ‘I am thrilled to be back where I’m at my happiest – in showbiz.


No More Memorabilia Auctions For Debbie Reynolds– Movie icon Debbie Reynolds is refusing to sell off the remains of her Hollywood memorabilia collection after two highly successful auctions – because parting with movie costumes and props has been a painful experience.  “I don’t want to do anymore. I was going to do two more, but I’m not going to do it. They’re exhausting, they’re depleting and they’re depressing for me and too hard. It goes too deep. I still have a lot of my things but I decided to become rich.”

Council OKs 2012 Chesterton Wizard of Oz Festival At its meeting Monday night, the Chesterton Town Council voted 5-0 to enter into a contract with the Duneland Business Initiative Group (DBIG), the organizer of the annual Wizard of Oz Festival, governing this year’s edition of the extravaganza. The agreement is identical to last year’s with this exception, Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann noted: DBIG “is not going to have the Saturday night festivities.” The dates of the 2012 Wizard of Oz Festival: Sept. 15 and 16.

Oz in the News 1.22.12

Wicked Wizard of Oz Wedding Cake  This wicked Wizard of Oz wedding cake featured on Bridal Snob would please brides and die-hard fans alike.  Each tier represents a different character in the classic movie with a yellow brick road leading to Oz.  I don’t think Dorothy would mind eating this gorgeous wedding cake when she returned home.


New arcade game uses ‘Wizard of Oz’ theme to gobble up players’ coins  The Wizard of Oz game uses silver tokens instead of coins, and most that fall into the hopper are recirculated in the game. At regular intervals, a dispenser in the center of the machine drops colored discs and trading cards of characters from the movie onto the trays. When these items are pushed into the hopper, the player gets to trade them in for points. At Playcade, green discs are worth 50 points, red discs 150 points and trading cards 400 points. Collect all seven character cards for a 25,000-point bonus.

Hollywood costumes showcased in V&A blockbuster exhibition While searching for Dorothy’s gingham pinafore dress from The Wizard Of Oz, assistant curator Keith Lodwick received a phone call from an anonymous collector requesting a meeting outside Temple underground station. From there, Lodwick and Nadoolman Landis were taken to a bank vault in Fleet Street, where a large box was produced. Under layers of tissue paper lay the gingham pinafore. “I put my gloves on, and turned it inside out to check if it was the real thing, and it was. That was a holy grail moment, for all of us.”

Crawford’s ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Birthday  Veteran British actor Michael Crawford celebrated his 70th birthday in style on Thursday (19Jan12) as his the Wizard of Oz co-stars threw a party to mark the milestone. The cast and crew didn’t let the occasion pass without recognition – they threw him a surprise party and presented the star with a hugecake, in the style of the yellow brick road. He was also treated to a rendition of Happy Birthday by the cast and the audience, which included pop star Gary Barlow, whose daughter Emily plays a Munchkin in the production.

The Gregory Maguire Interview  As children have matured–which is to say turned into creatures from another century than the century in which I was born–I recognize them as fellow human beings less and less often. The technology of the world in which they are born!–it boggles the mind. All parents want books to do several contradictory things: both to console and to challenge, to hearken back and to lean forward. I think the books are expected to do the same things as when I started reading and then writing children’s books: it is just that as a child and as a young writer I could lean forward with much clearer vision than I can now. I hardly know where I am in 2012, cybernetically speaking; how can I pretend to children at the age of 10 to present to them a vision of the world in which they live? I don’t even know how to change the font on this paragraph.

Sophie Evans takes over from Danielle Hope in Wizard of Oz from 7 Feb  Evans, who has been appearing as the alternative Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium on Tuesday evenings and covering Hope’s holidays, will fill the ruby slippers full-time from 7 February. Danielle Hope plays her final show on 5 February 2012.

Local couple’s daughter debuts on Broadway  During her career, Oakley has played the lead roles in Evita and The The Little Mermaid. After graduating from Michigan last year, she headed straight for the Big Apple. She was soon picked up by a casting agent, which led to her “universal swing” role in the Broadway production of Wicked, a prequel to the Wizard of Oz. Being a “universal swing” means Oakley fills in for other actors both on the national tour and in New York. She has learned 16 different parts in the play — the roles of every female character in the cast.

Oz in the News 1.19.12

Model Lara Stone teams up with Mercedes-Benz for Oz-inspired Fashion Week video  Mercedes-Benz released a new promotional video featuring long-legged Dutch supermodel Lara Stone and the Mercedes-Benz 2013 SL. In the unusual ad, Stone pulls over in her car, unloads a pair of suitcases, and gets taken away by a tornado, much like Miss Almira Gulch in The Wizard of Oz. Yes, Dorothy was swept up in the tornado, too, but Dorothy was in the relative safety of a house while Gulch was only on a bicycle. Then again, Lara Stone is also a bit reminiscent of Mary Poppins sailing around with her carpet bag (but without the umbrella).

ICE 2012: More than 80 Gaming Machines on Display The product line-up at ICE 2012 begins with innovations and exciting game play mechanics, coupled with industry-favorite game features. WMS will showcase 80 gaming machines for international markets with differentiated slot entertainment experiences, including: The new THE WIZARD OF OZ Journey to Oz: The largest adventure yet for THE WIZARD OF OZ brand, offering for the first time for THE WIZARD OF OZ brand, a spinning wheel — one of the most player-popular game mechanics in the industry. This exciting 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(TM) bonus round action.

Oz in the News 1.18.12

Austin’s Wizard, Don Amendolia, Chats WICKED  I had read Gregory Maguire’s amazing novel when it was first published, before it became a musical, so by the time I read the show script I was aware of how much my character differed from medium to medium.  Over all, I tend to remember who the Wizard was from the movie; more of a snake-oil salesman, carnival shaman who’s trying to hold on to his accidental world.  He’s not a bad man, he’s just not a very good Wizard.

Boise Philharmonic Presents Oz With Orchestra  “This is one of the most difficult things I’ll do all year,” said Boise Philharmonic Maestro Robert Franz. The challenge, according to Franz, comes from syncing the orchestra with the movie–following second-by-second cues from the film to create a seamless experience. “I’ve done this once before and it’s extraordinary,” added Franz.

The Wonderful World of OZ at The Children’s Museum in La Crosse  “It’s very exciting, it is something new to learn about. It allows families to come together and learn different things. We bring in different exhibits that focus on different things. The Wizard of OZ focuses on literacy. It’s for all ages again and it focuses on the book, not the movie,” says The Children’s Museum Project Director Christina Knudsen.

Re-Covered Books: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum  So here’s your objective. Make a contemporary version of a modern day classic. Don’t make a cover to the movie, make it a cover to the book. But make sure it feels fresh and new. I’d suggest looking at the work of Neil Kellerhouse, who is leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else when it comes to contemporary design. Make it fresh, make it new, and make it amazing. This time around you’ve got a pretty sweet prize. This time around we’re giving away an Apple TV (which is American, not sure if it matters), so you really need to throw some blood, sweat and tears into this one. Sound like a plan?

Oz in the News 1.17.12

Children’s Theatre Takes a Long Walk Down Memory Lane   Weber and Forbes’ are collaborating on a collection of memorabilia reaching back to the first WCT season that will be on display Saturday afternoon at Wauwatosa West High School in a celebration of its diamond anniversary following a 2 p.m. performance of “The Crying Princess and the Golden Goose.”  Among the gems she discovered was an original photo print from the 1936-’37 season from a show called “The Patchwork Girl of Oz,” a play based on the seventh Oz book by Frank Baum, published in 1913.

New pictures of Jersey Jack Pinball’s Wizard of Oz  Hot on the heels of the reveal of Stern’s AC/DC Pinball (now updated with a playfield pic) comes new pictures of the competition – Wizard of Oz Pinball by Jersey Jack Pinball. This is on track for a March release and I also read that they have already pre-sold 1000 units with hopes of selling 2000 by the time the year is out – pretty good numbers for a pinball game these days from what I hear.

L. Frank Baum’s Yellow Brick Road  Baum lived for two of his formative years in a town with a yellow brick road. But Curran goes further than that. He thinks Baum probably arrived in Peekskill by way of the Hudson River, in a steamboat. Since he didn’t have a map app for his smartphone, he probably asked directions to the academy when he landed. The inevitable answer? “Follow the yellow brick road.” Which, then, of course, we all imagine him doing while skipping arm-in-arm with a scarecrow and a man made of tin.

Oz in the News 1.15.12

Cazenovia bed and breakfast once owned by L. Frank Baum’s grandparents   The Stanton House Bed & Breakfast, at 2427 Stanton Road, Cazenovia, usually filled with guests between May and October, is a well-kept secret. Kyle and Maria Doan have owned the five-bedroom, 3 1/2-bath Colonial on more than 120 acres since 1991. Maria said the original home was built in the mid-1800s, and was reported to have some of the first indoor bathrooms in Madison County. The Doans lovingly restored and furnished the home, once owned by author L. Frank Baum’s grandparents.

‘Wizard of Oz’ has connections to Rochester, Syracuse   Like thousands of other pre-1951 movies captured on nitrate film, the 1939 The Wizard of Oz is stored at George Eastman House’s Louis B. Mayer Conservation Center in Chili. Warner Bros. borrowed back the original camera negatives from their 40-degree, low-humidity vault to create the high-definition DVD and Blu-ray versions for the movie’s 70th anniversary in 2009. Stored properly, the original film can last 800 years, Engle says. The Eastman House also has the cameras and equipment used to create the Technicolor film. “You could say we are the only city in the world that can re-create Oz,” she says. The Eastman House also preserves the only existing version of the 1910 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz silent film — based more on a 1902 stage musical of the story than on Baum’s 1900 book. Oz is not a dream in the original story. Baum included sequences and characters that didn’t make MGM’s movie, such as a scene in which a band of mice rescues the Cowardly Lion from the sleep-inducing poppy field.

Oz in the News 1.14.12

Give your dog a make-over fit for a West End star  “At we wanted to ensure that Dorothy Gale and her ruby slippers weren’t the only bling on the stage so we created a truly stunning emerald green Swarovski collar and lead set especially for Toto, who is played by one of four West Highland Terriers in the show. “The collar and lead set make their first appearance on stage as Dorothy, the Tin Man, Lion, Scarecrow and of course, Toto, make their way to the glittering, Emerald City, in suitably stunning outfits.”

Michael Crawford & Danielle Hope to Depart UK WIZARD OF OZ Feb. 5  It’s now official that both Michael Crawford and Danielle Hope will both depart the West End production of THE WIZARD OF OZ on February 5, 2012. Both have been with the show since the beginning, and audiences had been following the yellow brick road over the rainbow to see Crawford (as the Wizard) and Danielle Hope (as Dorothy), winner of BBC TV’s Over the Rainbow, at The London Palladium. The show began previews in early February of 2011 and opened in March of 2011 to great reviews. No replacements have yet been announced for either role.

Wizard of Oz performance halted after hitch  Kathryn Hearn, from St Albans, who attended the performance said: “The show had got to where the hurricane comes and then the curtain shut. “They said they had technical problems and they would have a short break while they tried to fix it. “But half an hour later, Michael Crawford came out saying that, as it was a technical show, they could not go on without compromising safety. He was quite emotional and seemed to be on the verge of tears.” Crawford remarked that he was upset because his guest in the audience that night was his Some Mother’s Do ‘Ave ‘Em co-star Michele Dotrice, who played Betty Spencer. “There were women crying in the toilets because Michael Crawford is only in the show until 5 February so they were worried they wouldn’t be able to see him again,” Mrs Hearn added.

Oz in the News 1.12.11

Face Off Recap: Re-imagining The Wizard Of Oz  If you had to re-imagine the main characters from The Wizard of Oz, what would you do to change the icons?  That was the premise of the main task on tonight’s premiere episode of SyFy’s second season of Face Off.  After a very successful first season last year, SyFy brought the reality smash back with 14 new contestants in a battle for $100,000.  The drama kicked off with the contestants in the middle of the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot right into the first challenge.

Characters from ‘Oz’ fill comics, too  For more than 100 years, the Oz characters have spawned spinoffs, from the iconic 1939 film starring Judy Garland to the novel and musical “Wicked.”  They also are in comics, which date back as early as the original “Oz” books. Some of those images are on view at the Cartoon Art Museum in a show called “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”  Eric Shanower, an artist known for his “Age of Bronze” series,  has been invested in the Oz lineage for 26 years, starting with the “Enchanted Apples of Oz” comic in 1986. Examples in the show prove how Baum’s characters and settings remain appealing and relevant.

Remastered “Judy Garland: The Carnegie Hall Concert” Will Get Feb. 6 U.K. Release  JSP Records’ edition of Judy Garland‘s historic 1961 Carnegie Hall Concert, a remastered version of the Grammy Award-winning LP, will be released on disc Feb. 6 in the U.K. The double-CD set includes the same track order as the original 1961 LP release. According to producers, the new JSP release captures Garland’s performance as heard on the original 1961 mono release. JSP is also planning to announce a U.S. release date for the album in the coming weeks.

Marvel and Barnes & Noble Bring Graphic Novels to the Nook  Marvel is offering some of its best titles in the B&N store with books like Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s Captain America run, Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s epic crossover Civil War, Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca’s fast-paced take on The Invincible Iron Man, and many more. My personal favorites were The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Skottie Young’s art and Jean-Francious Beauliue’s colors burst from the bright screen) and Joss Whedon and John Cassady’s Astonishing X-Menseries.