Monthly Archives: October 2014

Oz in the News 10.30.14

oz_webThe Oz Project  Parallel 45’s spectacular fall production is a completely original musical experience based on The Wizard of Oz, directed and choreographed by founding member Justin Perez. This jukebox musical will feature bold design elements and stunning contemporary dance set to popular songs from across the canon. Come experience this classic story reconstructed in new, dazzling ways!

Tinley Park prepares for 2015 Wizard of Oz festival  After this year’s disappointing cancellation, Tinley Park is gearing up for the 2015 Wizard of Oz Festival. The village, which scheduled a planning meeting for Oct. 29, is in the process of trying to staff several planning committees with local volunteers, said Vicki Sanchez, Tinley’s special events coordinator. So far, Sanchez said the village has received “a ton” of interest in the event. “People are really into ‘Wizard of Oz,'” Sanchez said. “It’s like a cult following.”

The great and original Oz musical  The Historic Everett Theatre has the privilege of debuting the next incantation of the story, titled “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” It is a worthy addition to its predecessors. Michael Gershowitz, who works at Kirkland Music Academy, had dreamed of remaking “The Wizard of Oz,” since he was very young. Twenty years ago, he discovered that not long after the book was published, that its author, L. Frank Baum Baum, also wrote a musical based on his story. Since no one else had an interest in it, and after getting permission from the family, Mr. Gershowitz and his company, Page2Stage Entertainment, revived the musical that had been collecting dust, but adding in their own songs, as well. His colleague, Joshua Sibley, also added songs until they had six composers and many more songs, such as “Witches Debate” and “Utopian Society.”

Wizardly tale: Ziaukas: Baum never a Bradfordian despite rumor  University of Pittsburgh at Bradford professor Tim Ziaukas laid to rest a rumor that has proliferated Bradford for many years — whether L. Frank Baum, author of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” had really lived in the city. “L. Frank Baum was never a Bradfordian,” said Ziaukas, who is a professor of public relations. The error comes dates back to the Nov. 19, 1899, edition of the Syracuse Standard titled “Father Goose”: “Mr. Baum … founded The Era at Bradford, Pennsylvania, which has become a flourishing daily.”  “There it is. And it’s not true by a long shot, nor is it known if Baum himself fabricated the data or the journalist made a mistake,” Ziaukas said.

Oz in the News 10.26.14

OZ+02_46W0VK3UBSmithfield Halloween display created by a couple of wizards  For 75 years, “The Wizard of Oz” has been entertaining families on the silver screen, TV and through VHS and DVDs. But it’s been 20-plus years since the cast made its appearance in Johnston (at first) and now at 14 Red Wing Trail in Esmond. The display began at the home of Mark Smith, but when he and his first wife divorced, the cast needed a new home. Dave Keene, his friend since kindergarten — they’re both now 49 — stepped up. The display “started with the Tin Man and kind of grew from there,” said Smith. “The Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Wizard, those are the original three.” “He’s been doing this forever,” noted Keene. “We were in kindergarten making circles and squares, and he’s making Bullwinkle and Rocky.” Smith, who works in a machine shop at Dean Machine, in Cranston, chose the “Oz” figures because he believed he needed “to get away from skeletons, ghouls and goblins, yet still have that Halloween feel.”

‘Wizard of Oz’ coming in 3D for one-time showing  The Lake Arts Council, Hy-Vee, and Wehrenberg Theater Eagles’ Landing, are thrilled to bring one of the most beloved films of all time to the lake area. On Saturday, Nov. 8, you will be able to see the classic “The Wizard of Oz” in 3D beginning at 11 a.m. This event is partially sponsored by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. In addition to seeing the fabulous classic in 3D, The Lake Arts Council will sponsor a “Wizard of Oz” costume contest for all children, preschool through high school. Judging will begin at 10 a.m. in the lobby of the theater. Prizes will be awarded to winners in four age groups. Remember, only “Wizard of Oz” costumes may compete in the contest.

Oz in the News 10.14.14

Wizard-of-Oz-GroupWe’re Off To See ‘The Wizard of Oz’  “The Wizard of Oz” is presented on the main stage at the Center for Puppetry Arts and is a glorious example of traditional puppetry at its finest, filled with great special effects (truly one of the rare marionette performances to feature a tornado lifting a house into the sky) and a host of songs — composed and performed by Steve Frisch — that fit so perfectly they should have been in the movie version. Each of Dorothy’s three companions poignantly sums up his plight in a song — “Strawman Blues,” “Tinman Blues” and “Cowardly Blues.”  And of course the hopeful solution to all of their problems — including Dorothy’s quest to find Toto and to get back home — is to follow the yellow brick road to the palace of the great and powerful Wizard.

I’m a Celebrity meets the Wizard of Oz: Watch Ant and Dec head up the Yellow Brick Road  It is filmed in the Australian outback rather than the Land of Oz, but Declan Donnelly recorded a Wizard Of Oz-themed trailer to mark the return of the series, which this year is rumoured to include singer Tulisa Contostavlos, Olympic diver Tom Daley, TV host Melanie Sykes and former Coronation Street actress Michelle Keegan. In the trailer, the duo decide to follow a yellow brick road to find camp. Appearing from a hut looking flustered, Ant says: “Ooh, that was a whirlwind journey.”  “Which way to camp then?” asks Dec, looking around. They spot a yellow brick road and both point, excitedly saying, “Follow the yellow dirt road!” “Hold on, what on earth are you wearing on your feet?”, Ant then asks Dec. “Do you know what? They’re surprisingly comfy,” says Dec, clicking the heels of his sparkly, red slippers together.

Oceans 234: Wizard of Oz Bash  Oceans 234, one of Deerfield Beach’s most popular beachfront restaurants, will be hosting a Wizard of Oz-Themed Halloween Bash on Friday, Oct. 31, at 8 p.m., this year featuring a frightening “Wizard of Oz” theme. Guests are invited to wear their most devious disguises to enjoy a costume contest, prizes and live entertainment in the Emerald City-inspired environment. Festively costumed staffers will serve hand-crafted drinks and for a wickedly good time.

Oz in the News 10.21.14

hsyldkub-958x360-798x310This Wizard of Oz-inspired wearable lets you click your heels to order a taxi or text your friends  We’ve all found ourselves trapped in an awkward dinner situation where we want nothing more than to be rescued by a “important call.” A new device called Dorothy might be able to come your rescue. A different take on wearables made by iStrategyLabs, Dorothy works by attaching a ‘Ruby’ (a small Arduino-based Bluetooth device) to your shoe and tapping your heels together three times to trigger an action.

KC Wizard of Oz World Record Attempt  More than 250 people costumed as “The Wizard of Oz” characters gathered at the Legends Outlets on Saturday morning attempting to set a Guinness World Record. The Kansas City Star arranged the event in honor of Halloween and the movie’s 75th anniversary.

Flashmob of Dorothys proves a wizard spectacle at Born in Bradford Festival  MORE than 100 women and girls donned their red shoes for a Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz-inspired flashmob in the centre of Bradford during an action-packed weekend of activities. The impromptu performance was held as part of the weekend-long Born in Bradford Family Festival, which took place at the National Media Museum and City Park. The troupe, led by Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, skipped and danced their way through the Mirror Pool in a five-minute display organised by the Irregular (Arts) group, based in Shipley to mark the 75th anniversary of the classic film starring Judy Garland.

Albino Dragon announces customized playing card deck based on the classic film THE WIZARD OF OZ  Albino Dragon, the Austin, Texas-based tabletop game publisher, is proud to announce their newest project, an officially licensed, customized Bicycle playing card deck based on the much-beloved movie, The Wizard of Oz. The project was launched on Kickstarter and, in less than one week, has already met its goal. Fans are very excited to receive the playing cards, which are illustrated and designed by Noelle Pugh, and officially licensed by Warner Bros. Consumer Products. The decks will feature one-of-a-kind court cards, custom jokers, and custom pip cards. The cards all feature rich artwork based on The Wizard of Oz. Maintaining their commitment to quality and excellence, the deck will be printed by the United States Playing Card Company (USPCC), the same company that produces the Bicycle brand.

Oz in the News 10.18.14

hillary_flying_monkeys_a_pHillary Clinton Flying Monkey Signs Deface Brentwood Ahead of L.A. Fundraiser  Guerrilla street artist SABO, who made headlines with his Gwyneth Paltrow “Obama Drone” poster, has struck again — this time ahead of Hillary Clinton‘s upcoming Democratic fundraiser at Tavern restaurant in Brentwood. The Los Angeles artist early Friday hung signs depicting Wizard of Oz flying monkeys holding “Hillary 2016” signs from traffic lights and pasted them on utility boxes near the San Vicente Boulevard restaurant.

Author Azar Nafisi returns with spirited defense of American literature  In her memorable 2003 best-selling memoir “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” Iranian-born college professor Azar Nafisi told a thrilling tale of how she used Western literature as a tool to fight against the oppression of the Iranian theocracy in the years following the Islamic revolution in her home country. But for the past 17 years, Nafisi has made her home in the United States, and it’s toward America that she now casts her eye in her new book “The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books” (Viking). She comes to Peace United Church in Santa Cruz on Oct. 28 in an event sponsored by Bookshop Santa Cruz. She introduces her book with a focus on an American story that might trump them all in metaphorical resonance, L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” “One of the fascinating things about ‘The Wizard of Oz,'” said Nafisi who earned her doctorate at the University of Oklahoma, not too far from Dorothy’s Kansas home, “is how when Dorothy and her companions begin searching for Oz, they think he’s Superman, that he’s the one with all the answers. But reaching Oz, they find that the power is within them. That is what imagination does to you. It opens up the possibilities that you did not think existed before. It teaches you to confront the limitations of reality and gives us a new of looking at our problems.”

Rainbow Garden Club fundraiser has ‘Wizard of Oz’ theme  The Rainbow Garden Club of Great Falls will hold its annual luncheon and style show on Saturday, Oct. 25, at the Great Falls Elks Lodge at 500 1st Ave. S. starting at 11 a.m. with a social hour. Luncheon and style show start at noon. Club members dressed as characters from the famous movie will mingle and provide photo ops with guests. The Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man will join Dorothy (and Toto), the Wizard and both the good and bad witches. The models from Great Falls and Cascade clothing stores and boutiques will enter the fashion show “under the rainbow” as they follow a yellow brick road. Special theme music will be provided by area musician Jan Roberts with a surprise vocalist. “Club members have been having a wonderful time preparing for this year’s program,” says Patty Schlaeger, Rainbow Garden Club’s 2014 style show chairman. “We have been making lovely basket arrangements for each table featuring sun flowers and bluebirds. These beautiful centerpieces will be for sale and will include a living accent that is a ‘friendship cutting’ donated from plants that decorate many local homes and businesses. Our members’ creative talents and enchanting decorating ideas will be turning the Elks Lodge into the wonderland of Oz for the afternoon.”


Oz in the News 10.14.14

4cb35ac7a96add3df59aa79d65fbecf7“Judy Garland And Friends: Duets” & “That Old Feeling: Classic Ballads From The Judy Garland Show” Available On Savoy Jazz  Songstress Barbra Streisand has been garnering incredible attention and sales for her “Partners” album, but Savoy Jazz has a few of the brightest gems in her duet repertoire—her duets with icon Judy Garland.  The songs featured on two Savoy Jazz releases– “Hooray For Love” medley which appears on “Judy Garland and Friends: Duets” and the all-time classic “Get Happy/Happy Days Are Here Again” medley taken from “That Old Feeling: Classic Ballads From the Judy Garland Show”—are priceless recordings from the early 60’s. Both albums are collections of hand-picked performances taken from the 1963 CBS-TV series “The Judy Garland Show.” Compiled by Emmy-winning historian John Fricke, the stellar sets feature unforgettable performances (as well as many previously unavailable on CD), showcasing the talents of entertainers such as Streisand, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Lena Horne, Count Basie, Vic Damone and others.  Also included in the packages are rare black and white photographs taken from rehearsals and tapings of the Garland series.

Buffalo Grove grad sells script after becoming Nicholl finalist  In a town where the action either has its foot stomped down on the gas or is idling in neutral, Josh Golden is not certain which analogy describes his current situation. But with his screenplay purchased by a major studio, the Buffalo Grove High School graduate may already be in the fast lane. “The industry, obviously, has a reputation for slow-moving parts,” Golden said. But observers of the Hollywood film industry are calling Golden a hot prospect. “We’ll see,” he said. Golden is the writer of “Road to Oz,” which no one outside of Tinseltown has heard of, because it does not exist in film form yet. His script is a biopic of L. Frank Baum, author of the famed “Wonderful Wizard of Oz” stories. New Line Cinema purchased the script at the end of the summer and is now shopping around for production.

Oz in the News 10.11.14

v9getgtc4ma03dvn4dmaThese Stunning Illustrations Restore Awe And Wonder To The Wizard Of Oz  Rice Boy creator Evan Dahm has gone back to the book’s text and is illustrating a new edition of L. Frank Baum’s classic novel. Dahm recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for his new illustrated edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The edition will include 100 of Dahm’s illustrations—24 full-page illustrations, one for the start of each chapter, and dozens of spot illustrations. If you want a copy of the hardcover book, head over to Kickstarter and back his project. I also highly recommend checking out Dahm’s webcomics, including Rice Boy, Order of Tales, and Vattu. You can also see more of Dahm’s Wizard of Oz work, including his sketches, at the Baum by Dahm blog.

Emily Tierney: ‘I’m always cast as a witch – I don’t know what that says about me’  ‘My sisters’ children want to be in musicals now because of us. I think they want them to have nice sensible careers and not follow in Auntie Em and Uncle Will’s footsteps. I’m so pleased because my sisters’ kids are the right age to come see a show now – they think their auntie Em is a fairy. One of them was asked in school the other day what their aunts or uncles do and she told them: “Well auntie Em is a fairy…” I’m not going to correct her on that.


Oz in the News 10.10.14

2014-10-08-9006991115-thumbCourage for Sale: Oz’s Cowardly Lion Costume Heads to The Auction Block  Bonhams auction house has partnered with Turner Classic Movies to offer artifacts from The Wizard of Oz for sale on November 24, 2014, in New York. The special event, “TCM Presents…There’s No Place Like Hollywood,” will include movie memorabilia from Tinsel Town’s golden age, highlights of which will be several rarities associated with the Cowardly Lion. Featured in the sale will be Bert Lahr’s original Wizard of Oz script, dated October 10, 1938. The script has a direct provenance to Lahr’s family and was recently seen on TV’s Antiques Roadshow. When the Cowardly Lion enters the Haunted Forest on a mission to destroy the Wicked Witch, he brings with him for protection a spray pump marked “Witch Remover.” This same prop will be offered in the Bonhams auction. But most importantly, Lahr’s original Wizard of Oz wardrobe will be available to the bidder who has the fortitude to preserve and honor this iconic costume.

Pitt-Bradford professor to lecture on legend of Frank Baum in Bradford  For decades, scores of Bradfordians have debated whether Baum lived and worked in their northwestern Pennsylvania town before he published his iconic work. Some speculate that he wrote for — even founded – The Bradford Era. But was Baum really in Bradford circa 1879, starting or writing for a newspaper, before he went on to produce America’s greatest fairy tale? Tim Ziaukas, professor of public relations, claims to have tracked down the evidence and will share them in a presentation titled “Case Closed: L. Frank Baum in Bradford,” at 7 p.m. Oct. 28 in the Mukaiyama University Room of the Frame-Westerberg Commons. The event is sponsored by Pitt-Bradford’s Friends of Hanley Library and is free.

Warhol’s celebrity portraits likely to fetch RM186 million Andy Warhol’s Liz, Jackie and Judy may help Sotheby’s sell as much as US$57 million (RM186m) of his celebrity portraits at its bellwether auctions next month in New York. A rarely seen silkscreen of actress Elizabeth Taylor, estimated at about US$30 million, will lead the Nov 11 and 12 sales of portraits of seven female actresses, singers and socialites. The 1963 “Liz #3 (Early Coloured Liz),” one of Warhol’s earliest of the late movie star, has been on public view only once since 1972. Joining her are silkscreens of Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe, Deborah Harry, Jacqueline Kennedy, Judy Garland, and the socialite Sao Schlumberger. The seven lots are valued by Sotheby’s at US$48.2 million to US$56.6 million.

‘Wicked’ star Kim Zimmer: ‘There’s something in the show that touches everyone’ “I think more of Elphaba as the witch of the earth, you know. She cares about animals, and she’s green; she’s like leaves on a tree. She is the tree. She’s solid and knows what she wants and stops at nothing to get it. Like an acorn that gets planted into the ground and grows and becomes this beautiful oak tree. She’s green. I think green can be a scary color to young kids, even though it’s one of our base colors. When you have babies, they tell you to incorporate bright colors into their spectrum so that they can see color. I don’t know why she’s green.”

Steampunk ‘Wizard of Oz’ show flying into Loveland this weekend “When I told the kids I was thinking of doing a more futuristic steampunk ‘Wizard of Oz,’ it got them really energized for the classic show,” Quinones said. The Kansas scene starts out in the traditional way, all black and white including the actors’ skin and clothing. When Dorothy — played by junior Raegan DeBord — is swept away in the tornado, she trades in her pretty checked dress behind curtain for leather jeans and sparkly red Toms (shoes) instead of heels. Director Quinones also re-scripted the “Wizard of Oz” show to include the tinman as a robot, a wicked warlock instead of a witch and a whole lot of leather vests and ripped jeans. The production is also making use of the talents of flying instructor, Geddy Webb with a company out of Las Vegas called “Flying by Foy.” “He came to our school and set up our flight track system. We will see the monkeys, Dorothy, Glenda coming in on a bubble, the wizard flies off in a balloon… That’s also something really cool about the show,” Quinones said.

Oz in the News 10.7.14

Return-to-Oz-Mombi-465x316Somewhere (Scary) Over the Rainbow: Return to ‘Return to Oz’  On October 12, Hollywood Babylon will screen the brilliant, and underappreciated, Return to Oz (1985) at Dublin’s Lighthouse Cinema as part of their “Scare Your Kids Weekend” (also including a welcome screening of Ridley Scott’s Legend).  The sole directorial outing of multi-Oscar-winning editor Walter Murch, Return to Oz is a Walt Disney production often mistakenly believed to be a sequel to MGM’s beloved The Wizard of Oz (1939).  In fact, the film is an adaptation of several later books by original Oz author L. Frank Baum, principally Ozma of Oz (1907).  The film was the subject of much hand-wringing upon its release, and much snark ever since, since its story – in which Dorothy escapes incarceration in a mental hospital only to find Oz devastated by the combined forces of the wicked Princess Mombi and the malevolent Nome King – has been deemed, by adults, to be “too bleak” or “too scary” for children.  Norman Reynolds’ exquisite production design for Return to Oz draws directly on the original illustrations for Baum’s books, which were themselves inspired by the World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893.  The result carries the eerie poignancy one might associate with a recreation of a near-century-old vision of the future, nowhere more so than in the concluding scenes, when the devastated Emerald City is returned to a vitality that somehow seems no less ghostly.  No film before or since has offered a dust bowl dreamscape as meticulously realised as Return to Oz, although HBO’s short-lived but fascinating series Carnivàle (2003 – 2005) occasionally came close.

National The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Interactive Exhibition Visits Lakeshore  Follow the yellow brick road to Holland Museum and step into the pages of a new 1,500-square-foot interactive exhibition opening in the Holland Museum Armory building on September 27 that will run through January 3 featuring the book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” with artwork by W.W. Denslow. Perfect for children between two and 12 years of age, visitors will feel like they’re walking through a storybook as they learn about science, art and history against the backdrop of the first American fairy tale.

Woman gets ‘How much is that doggie in the window’ stuck in head for 4 YEARS and is now plagued by ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’  Susan Root, 65, has severe tinnitus, also known as musical hallucinations, and hears constant music. She suffered years of the 1952 Patti Page novelty tune, but after four years her tune has finally changed. Now she says she’s now being plagued instead by Judy Garland’s ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ from the 1939 classic film The Wizard of Oz, and feels she is at ‘breaking point’.  According to the British Tinnitus Association, musical hallucination (MH), also known as musical tinnitus, is the experience of hearing music when none is being played.

Oz in the News 10.5.14

LITTLETINMAN-superJumbo‘The Little Tin Man,’ About a Quest for Acceptance  Mother knows best, and a maternal directive from the beyond will guilt any child, regardless of age, into taking an order. That’s the splash of cold water that Herman (Aaron Beelner), a dwarf actor drifting in a sea of malaise, gets in Matthew Perkins’s charming first feature, “The Little Tin Man.” It’s not that Herman has been playing it safe so much as he’s resigned to being typecast, settling for roles that require a high-pitched voice and “candy cane spandex.” His mother’s dying wish for him to take his career more seriously sends Herman and a ragtag crew, including the delightful Kay Cannon, a writer (“30 Rock” and “Pitch Perfect”) in her first lead film role, on a wacky adventure around Manhattan in hopes of auditioning for Martin Scorsese, who’s remaking “The Wizard of Oz.”

Oz Fest marks 75th anniversary of ‘Wizard of Oz’  “It just evolved into a big celebration from one day to nearly four days one year and from those three Munchkins in 1989 to 16 the next year and we had a lot of Oz fans who traveled from places like New Orleans and California, everywhere, to come to our Oz-Fest,” Marilyn Thompson, who was on the Oz-Fest committee in 1989, said. “And each year, as long as we were able to get the Munchkins here it was good. They were such precious little people, they were wonderful.” “I would like to see the Oz-Fest continue even though we can’t bring the Munchkins anymore. We still have the house and the Land of Oz exhibit and the people and volunteers at the museum help greatly and are trying to continue making it a festival everyone can enjoy.” Thompson said. “I’d like to see it continue because it doesn’t matter where I go, when people find out I’m from Liberal, Kansas they know the Land of Oz is here.”

Whether online or in person, hundreds stream to Storytelling Festival  Storytellers offered a variety of tales Friday afternoon: in the Library Tent, Donald Davis shared the story of a childhood prank he pulled on his hometown preacher; musician Kate Campbell regaled her audience with her stories and her songs, such as “Tupelo’s Too Far” in the Creekside Tent; and storyteller Megan Wells performed an interpretation of the literary version of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” in the College Street Tent. For storyteller David Novak, who emceed the College Street Tent performances Friday afternoon, Wells’ performance of L. Frank Baum’s original work not only served as an example of good storytelling, but as a reminder of how stories can be obfuscated by media like popular cinema. “When the storyteller encounters the literary work, such as we had with L. Frank Baum and Megan’s telling, we have another task and that is a task of fidelity,” Novak said. “And it was beautifully demonstrated how far away we’ve gotten from the primary text. That was beautiful to be reminded of that.”