Oz in the News 2.1.14

rglogo1.gif&LogoXPos=0&LogoYPos=290&maxw=630&maxh=350Arthur Rankin Jr, ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ co-producer dies, age 89  Mr Rankin and Mr Bass set out in 1960 with Videocraft International, which later became their eponymous business. Stop-motion was a painstaking and obscure technique when “Rudolph” burst onto the scene, followed by “Frosty the Snowman”, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, “The Little Drummer Boy”, “A Year Without a Santa Claus” and a slew of other specials.  He also produced the holiday special L. Frank Baum’s “The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus”, the tv series “Tales of the Wizard of Oz” and the tv special “Return to Oz”.

Wicked extends to April 2015  Hit musical Wicked will continue to entertain audiences with its tale about the origins of L Frank Baum’s iconic green-skinned witch until 25 April 2015 after extending its booking period at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. The Oz-based musical’s extension means that there are now an additional 450,000 tickets available for the production that brings to life Gregory Maguire’s story about two sorcery students and how they end up as Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Timothy Schaffert: A satisfying big-top romance  Nebraska author Timothy Schaffert sets his sweeping new novel against the dramatic backdrop of the 1898 World’s Fair, where a con man falls in love with a beautiful magician’s assistant.  “The Wizard of Oz, we’re told in the original book of 1900, was from Omaha; he worked as a ventriloquist and entertainer, and finally left in a balloon. So that character was an inspiration for my novel, and I definitely drew from Baum’s world, and from the illustrations by W.W. Denslow.”

Dance Fusion Performs Wizard of Oz  The cast consists of dancers from age two to 18 and there are over 145 involved in this show.  The crew has worked on the production of OZ since August. But, don’t expect this to be an exact replica of the original. “We have the story of the original OZ, but with twists in it, twists and turns. We use different music from Wicked and Andrew Lloyd Weber, all kinds of different music,” says director Angela Ekblad.

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