Oz in the News 1.17.13

10 Tinman wolvesA Dark History of Children’s Literature at Kroch Library  The exhibit  features a 1900 first edition of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Baum was protean American genius, and is one of my heroes. (I once wrote a science fiction screenplay that is a futuristic retelling of The Wizard of Oz, and I have wanted to write an Oliver Stone-esque biopic of Baum’s life for decades.) And, here, we have an illustration (of the Cowardly Lion being bound by the Flying Monkeys in an emerald field) by W.W. Denslow. William Wallace Denslow was a colorful, misanthropic guy with a huge mustache and a foghorn voice who eventually took his royalties (from the 1902 stage musical extravaganza The Wizard of Oz) and bought his own island and retired from humanity. Denslow, like Tenniel, also felt that he didn’t get enough credit. He was probably right, too.  The Wardrobes & Rabbit Holes exhibition runs until March 22 at the Hirshland Exhibition Gallery in the Carl A. Kroch Library (on floor 2B, two floors below the ground level of Olin Library on the Cornell campus in Ithaca, N.Y.) Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The entire exhibition can be viewed online at www.rmc.library.cornell.edu/rabbithole.

Theatre review: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Wizard of Oz has sass, spectacle and gives good song  I’m philosophically opposed to the idea of casting shows by TV talent contests, but it works out as well here in practice as it did in Sams’ (far superior) production of The Sound of Music. As Dorothy, Danielle Wade — plucked from the CBC’s Over the Rainbow talent show — is a troubled teen rising above her troubles, and does much to keep the show on the Yellow Brick Road (one of the better design elements, incidentally). It isn’t her fault the song Over the Rainbow is now so crusted in mythology that it’s impossible to accept as part of a story (and the rainbow itself looks very cut-rate).

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