Oz in the News 9.26.13

tn-500_img_9035a.jpg.pagespeed.ce.uV_5MoglIQTHE WIZARD OF OZ Celebrates Opening at the Pantages  Oz cast members also walked the red carpet including Danielle Wade (Dorothy), who was chosen by the Canadian public through CBC TV’s “Over The Rainbow.” Danielle was joined by one of Canada’s most respected and honored actors: Gemini-winner, film and theatre veteran, Cedric Smith (Wizard;) actor/choreographer Mike Jackson (Tin Man) whose credits include Chicago, Broadway/U.S. tour, Contact, U.S. tour;) Lee McDougall (Lion) star of Mamma Mia! (Toronto/U.S. tour) and a Dora Award winner for his play High Life; Jamie McKnight (Scarecrow), known for his performance in The Producers (Toronto) and as one of the Canadian Tenors; Robin Evan Willis (Glinda), star of many Shaw Festival productions; and Broadway and national tour veteran Jacquelyn Piro Donovan (Wicked Witch of the West) who has been featured in Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Closer Than Ever.

The Wizard of Oz: The touring production at the Pantages is relatively enjoyable despite a terrible reworking of the MGM Classic  Because the film is still beloved, as evidenced by the success of the recent 3-D/IMAX relaunch in theaters, it is not surprising that Andrew Lloyd Webber saw that the yellow-brick road may yield further gold. However, if I borrowed a book from the library and drew sloppy stick figures and incomprehensible dialogue bubbles on the pages, the library would throw the book back and charge me for vandalism. Andrew Lloyd Webber should be similarly charged with a felony for how he devalued a classic.

Wizard Games: Q&A with Walker Jones of ‘Wicked’  “I have the fortune to be playing the Wizard of Oz and when you hear the phrase ‘Wizard of Oz,’ everybody has a response to that and a lot of it has to do because many of us watching the classic film. With the character, there is a lot of build up and anticipation because you think, ‘Oh, my gosh, he’s the end-all, be-all, powerful, wise, loving and knowing being that is ruling this place’ because what you see in the original version, the 1939 film, is that he’s a very powerful human being. The wizard is all about the illusion of power and in our play, he’s a reflection of politicians. In several moments throughout the play, you get to see how the author has a wonderful perspective of how the people in power use their power to, in some ways, manipulate the masses.”

The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Collector’s Edition  This perennial adulation is what leads studios to trot out anniversary editions every few years. The new set’s many tchotchkes — including a notebook, pins, and a snow globe — probably won’t be all that enticing to anyone other than collectors and obsessives, especially with a $105 price tag. But the film’s appeal is somehow still immune to Hollywood opportunism. In the face of such iconic moviemaking, cynicism melts away like a wetted witch.

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