Oz in the News 6.14.12

André De Shields Honored at 34th Annual OZ-Stravaganza  De Shields met the other special guests at the event – including one of the last surviving original Munchkins, 89 year old Margaret Pellegrini “The Flower Pot Munchkin,” Munchkin-by-marriage Myrna Swensen (her late husband Clarence Swensen was a Munchkin soldier); Caren Marsh-Doll (Judy Garland’s stand-in for the MGM film); and Robert and Clare Baum (Robert Is the great grandson of L. Frank Baum). Also attending was Gregory Maguire, author of the original Wicked book (on which the Broadway musical by Stephen Schwartzis based), who served as Grand Marshall.

Definitely not in Kansas anymore  “The dream is to have all of these red shoes dancing down the yellow brick road,” said Bray. “We are basically doing an all-call for second hand cowboy boots.” Under the dancing feet will be, of course, the famed yellow brick road that led Dorothy and the gang to Oz. Unfortunately, laying actual yellow bricks down the Plaza isn’t an option, so Regina visual artist Gary Varro is bringing the image to life. “I came up with the idea of using gold canvas rolled out onto the ground, sort of like we’re constructing a road,” said Varro. “It will be on a dowel and … there’ll be a wizard character, leading the procession and it’s like the canvas is unfurling like a robe.”

The Garland House gets national notice for its architecture  Coinciding with the would-be 90th birthday of Judy Garland, as well as the introduction to Broadway of “End of the Rainbow,” a new stage-production on the life of the Hollywood legend, the trade journal Architectural Digest is currently featuring the famous Grand Rapids Garland House, the home where the young Frances Ethel Gumm spent the first four years of her life. According to the AD story, the home in Grand Rapids held a particular significance to Garland throughout her life, as told by her daughter Lorna Luft, who brightly referred to it as “Momma’s house” (visit www.architecturaldigest.com for the whole story, as well as pictures of the renovated white clapboard house).

Judy Garland Birthday Honored at Tony Awards  Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli posted several messages on her website. “Today is a day for celebration,” wrote Garland’s famous daughter on Sunday. “We celebrate the privilege of having had Mama touch all of our lives.” “She left us with so many feelings we never would have discovered about ourselves until she exquisitely translated them to us with her voice,” Minnelli continued. “She is to be missed deeply, yes… But, what if we never had her? That’s what we celebrate today.”

Girl’s dream comes true with Wizard of Oz audition  A young Nova Scotian girl was given special permission to audition for CBC-TV’s reality television contest yesterday. It’s a TV show where contestants compete to be the best Dorothy for a new theatre production of Wizard of Oz in Toronto. Sam Galbraith, a nine-year-old girl from Windsor, is actually too young to compete. Her mother wrote a letter to producers asking if Galbraith — who has a developmental delay — could audition along with older contestants. To Liz Galbraith’s surprise, the producers said her daughter could audition.

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