Oz in the News 8.13.14

chaJudy Garland Musical Chasing Rainbows – The Road to Oz Will Get NYC Reading  Chasing Rainbows – The Road to Oz, a new musical with a book by Mark Acito and featuring a score studded with songs made famous by Judy Garland, will test its legs in a New York City staged reading this September. Here’s how the creators characterize the piece: “In 1935, at the height of the Great Depression, an intrepid 13-year-old landed a job that could support her entire family. Overweight and insecure, she was routinely demeaned by her boss, who called her ‘my little hunchback.’ Her only solace was her irrepressible spirit and the tender love of her father, who died unexpectedly just two months later. That teenager was Judy Garland. This story of an underdog with the soul of a poet and the personality of a pep squad speaks to young and old alike. Anyone who has ever felt like they didn’t fit in will leave the theater uplifted by this inspiring tale of eternal love and fortitude.”

Dead Woman Insists On ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Obit  Seventy-five years ago today was the world premiere of “The Wizard Of Oz.” A movie Joanna Scarpitti loved. So much so she made her daughter promise that when she died she’d use a famous line for the obituary – ding dong the witch is dead. Scarpitti died two weeks ago. Her daughter fulfilled the promise, adding that her mom was sweet with a side of zest. Sure enough, Scarpitti insisted on being dressed in all black with white stockings and red ruby slippers after her death.

Starlet lost ‘The Wizard of Oz’ role because of Howard Hughes?  “Shortly after a young MGM contract player named Helen Gilbert was cast as Glinda, the inveterate girl-chaser Howard Hughes spirited her away for a fling…Gilbert was suspended, and the studio, which had been building her as a leading lady, allowed her contract to lapse after 1940.” Louella Parsons once remarked cryptically that “something happened” to sour MGM’s interest in Gilbert — who, four years after “Oz,” was reduced to an unbilled bit as one of the girls in “The Trolley Song” in “Meet Me in St. Louis.”

Town where “Wizard of Oz” premiered celebrates film’s 75th anniversary  Oconomowoc is where the Hollywood classic had its world premiere in 1939. “That was the year I graduated high school and I was 17 years old,” said resident Catherine Buckeridge. Buckeridge is now 92, and was there that night. “It was something special that happened in my life and in our family life,” she said. The Oconomowoc Historical Society proudly displays memorabilia of Oz year round, though no one in town can definitely say why the premiere happened here at all, including docent Shirley Hinds. “Don’t ask me, but I don’t know why it wasn’t Kansas, but I guess we aren’t in Kansas anymore. We certainly aren’t,” Hinds said, mimicking the classic line that is still a familiar catchphrase to this day.

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