Thousands Celebrate L. Frank Baum at Oz-Stravaganza Jess Ackerman was out watching the parade today and knows how this community really bonds over this one weekend. “it’s kind of a coming together for the entire community to show that we are united under this one thing that brings us all together. The entire community comes out and all of us support it. A lot of us pitch in resources, a lot of resources, a lot of time to create this one thing. It’s more of a unity,” says Ackerman. A unity that this village wants to hold on to as they remember and celebrate the history of The Wizard of Oz.
Fans flock to Chittenango Friday Twenty-one special guests from the original movie up to the most recent 3D release of “ Oz the Great and Powerful” are attending this year’s festivities. Caren Marsh-Doll a stand-in for Judy Garland in the 1939 MGM film, reminisced about some of her memories of the production for the movie. “I was a dancer and actress and was approached by MGM for the part of the understudy for Dorothy,” Marsh-Doll said. “Judy Garland and I would sometimes have lunch together in the commissary. I would have a chicken sandwich and a chocolate milk, but poor Judy was restricted to eating only a bowl of soup. If she ate anything more than that she was reported.”
Marsh-Doll said the set for the movie did not have the many conveniences as sets do today. “in 1939 there was no air conditioning. The heat from the new Technicolor lights was intense. I don’t know how Ray Bolger got through it.”
Oz-stravaganza celebrates a milestone year This is a milestone year, the 35th for Oz-stravaganza. The theme is “The Patchwork of Oz”, with special guests to help celebrate the story in writer L. Frank Baum’s birthplace. “We’re talking about the patchwork that Oz has created since it started in 1900 and gone in so many directions,” said co-director Colleen Zimmer. “Most people think it’s just one story and it’s not. It’s a whole trilogy,” explained fan Rhonda Arnsby.
Dancing the Yellow Brick Road The story is immediately recognizable, especially in Grand Rapids, the birthplace of Judy Garland. For the first time, the Reif Dance Program is doing “The Wizard of Oz.” Of course, it’s a dance and not a play, so the story still had to be adapted. Fortunately, because of the wide spread fame of the 1939 film, most viewers will be only too familiar with the story, making an adaptation that doesn’t use words that much easier. But there will still be a few surprising elements, as this adaptation is based on both the movie and the original book by L. Frank Baum. A big fan of the book, Smith tried to incorporate a number of aspects from Baum’s original story, though there were some symbols that simply couldn’t be changed back. “For instance, in the film, they used ruby slippers. In the book, they actually had silver slippers,” said Smith. “We’re using ruby slippers in our story because there’s no way to explain to young children why she doesn’t have red shoes on without using words.”