Oz in the News 5.26.12

Yip Harburg: A Lyricist For The Ages  During his 84 years on the planet, Yip Harburg contributed brilliant lyrics to some of the finest melodies of the American popular song canon. Most of his songs were originally written for Broadway shows or Hollywood musicals. Finian’s Rainbow is probably his most popular stage work, but he’s best known for working with composer Harold Arlen on music for The Wizard of Oz, a collaboration which won them an Oscar for “Over the Rainbow.”

Naples Museum of Art to feature costumes from famous science-fiction movies  The Naples Museum of Art shoots for the stars next season with an exhibit of costumes from “Blade Runner,” “Star Trek,” “The Terminator” and other science-fiction movies and TV shows. Expect to see Arnold Schwarzenegger’s leather jacket from “The Terminator,” Margaret Hamilton’s wicked-witch hat from “The Wizard of Oz” and much more.

Children and Dogs! TV Competition Will Decide Dorothy and Toto of Canadian Wizard of Oz  “Over the Rainbow,” a CBC television talent competition this fall, will decide who gets cast as “Dorothy” — and her little dog, too — in the Canadian premiere of The Wizard of Oz, the London musical drawing on the classic film and incorporating new songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Expect “eight jam-packed, toe-tapping, music-filled weeks of competition” to find Dorothy, “a teenager who wants to break free from her life and see the world,” according to production notes. The competition also addresses acting and dancing.

Under The Influence: L. Frank Baum  These books spoke to me for years, telling me that a world can itself be an adventure, that the characters can be anyone or anything and it doesn’t matter if they’re men or women or even, technically , alive. It matters only if we can understand them, and sympathize with them, as they go through their adventures. Sometimes they still speak to me, and when they do… it’s rather forceful. I have written an entire Oz-based novel, titled Polychrome, and it was not originally my intent to do so. But once I had the idea for the book, it sat at the back of my mind, and built itself up, and then one day I woke up and it was basically sitting there in my forebrain saying “Oh, hi! You know those other books you were working on? The ones you have contracts for? Well, either you write a chapter or two of me every week, or you won’t be able to write anything else at all!”

Painter uses Sterling rock as canvas  Glaude decided to combine his view of patriotism, a 13-star American flag to honor the nation’s original states and an American bald eagle, with images from his favorite movie, “The Wizard of Oz,” including a rainbow and bright clouds. “The rainbow is to remind us of the old adage, you always find the best of what you want, be it a pot of gold or something not as easily defined, at the end of the rainbow,” Glaude said. “In ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ Dorothy wanted to find her way back to her aunt’s farmhouse in Kansas once she realized it was, for her, the best place on Earth.”

Judy! Judy! Judy! 3 Judy Garlands from the past and present meet backstage for the first time  Blanchard, 35, won an Emmy Award for playing a young Garland in 2001’s “Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows,” a blockbuster miniseries based on the best-selling book by the superstar’s daughter, Lorna Luft.  Keating, 51, earned a Tony nomination for playing the middle-aged Garland opposite Hugh Jackman in “The Boy From Oz” in 2003, and Bennett, in her Broadway debut, has just won a leading actress Tony nod. Bennett’s work is all the more remarkable for her not being American. She’s a 50-year-old from the north of England who has doggedly worked her way up, from dancer to soap opera actress to regional tours to the West End to Olivier Awards.

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