Oz in the News 10.31.12 (Halloween Edition)

The Wizard of Oz and Zombies  Vancouver Film School‘s YouTube channel is a good place to go prospecting for above average student short films. This month, they’ve added three that are perfect Halloween fare. In each, viewers are shown a darker side of the yellow brick road than fans remember from the technicolor original. Alas, in all these shorts, as in the original film, Dorothy is the object of the story but never the most interesting character. Still, they are all good, gory fun and worth the less-than-twenty minutes it takes to watch all three.

From ‘Wizard of Oz’ to ‘Troy’: Ten Cursed Films  What, America’s favorite classic — doomed? We’re not even going to go into Judy Garland’s later drug addiction —- there was plenty enough chaos on this set. Directors were playing a game of musical chairs, as a quick succession of big names (Richard Thorpe, George Cukor, Victor Fleming, King Vidor) helmed the pic. The original Tin Man, Buddy Epsen, bowed out after aluminum powder makeup infected his lungs. The makeup was changed, but it still gave the sub, Jack Haley, an eye infection. The Wicked Witch, aka Margaret Hamilton, had to take two weeks off after a special effect involving flames backfired (and her stand-in didn’t fare well either). No wonder she preferred being melted by a bucket of water. Then there were the underpaid munchkins who got stinking drunk every night, the winged monkeys falling from wire, and even Toto, aka Terry, got her paw broke and had to take a doggie break. The film itself wouldn’t gain its storied place in pop culture until decades later, thanks to television reruns — a sign perhaps that some curses do have an expiration date.

Journey through a different ‘Oz’ at St. Charles North  “The play begins at a funeral, and then takes place in a dream world of Oz, but in this Oz — the scarecrow is happy he doesn’t have a brain, and the tin man is grateful he doesn’t have a heart, because life can be so much easier if you don’t think about or feel things,” Hryniewicz said. “However, one needs to think, feel, and fear in order to move forwards in life.” A character named Beth finds herself journeying through this world, wondering what role she plays in this classic story gone awry. The production is described as “a hilarious and heart-wrenching exploration of grief and perseverance on the road to acceptance.”

MHS teacher nets rights to rare ‘Wizard of Oz’ inspired stage work  “The play is a contemporary adaptation from the original story by L. Frank Baum. The original production in Chicago was met with great acclaim when it opened several years ago. To my knowledge, this will be the second ever production of the play. –Tom Mackey, theatre/English teacher at Merrillville High School.” Mackey is exactly right. The last, and only time, this stage adaption, which was written by playwright Phillip C. Klapperich, who now lives in Colorado, was in a stage spotlight it was this same time of year in the late summer/fall of 2006 produced by House Theatre in Chicago, first at Viaduct Theatre and then way up north, at the Northlight Theatre space in Skokie, Ill. It ran from September to November 2006, with an addition short extension run of a few added performances again in March 2007.

Starz give a new twist to Oz  Many may be familiar with The Wizard of Oz theme but this show is set at Christmas time. Dorothy and Toto with Tin Soldier (instead of Tin Man), Snowman (instead of Scarecrow) and Stuffed Toy Lion (instead of Lion) will go on a magical journey down the yellow brick road. Some performers are only 4 years old and this is their first opportunity to be on stage.

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