Monthly Archives: December 2014

Oz in the News 12.30.14

Chittenango 9_OTISChittenango casino tarnishes the name of L. Frank Baum  The name of a new business coming to Chittenango tarnishes the image of L. Frank Baum. I’m betting it would be voted down by a wide majority of people in the immediate area. It may provide 250 jobs but it is not the kind of people with whom I would want to socialize. It’s job security for the police to tend to people who don’t need to get further in debt financially and then ruin their health with liquor and cigarettes, continue crashing their vehicles and taxing an already overburdened intersection in Fayetteville. I may need more gas just to get out of my neighborhood but it is a sure bet I won’t be buying it from Native-owned stations. I’m betting that if Walt Disney were alive, he could make more money in the same space with an Oz-based theme park.

There’s no place like Oz home, but first it needs a lot of work  It’s been a long time coming for Kathleen DiScenna to get the “magic key to the magic house of Oz.” It’s really just a screwdriver “until we get our grants and re-do the doors and locks,” she explained. The large Neal House, at 678 West Onondaga Street in Syracuse, was built in 1871. But it’s fallen into disrepair, with broken windows, peeling paint and crumbling fireplaces. No Wicked Witch lived here, but the house on the West Side of Syracuse holds a lot of importance to fans of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its author. DiScenna leads the Lyman Frank Baum Foundation, dedicated to the Wizard of Oz author. They’ve been trying to save this house since shortly after it was sold in 1999 and became vacant. The Greater Syracuse Land Band seized the property for back taxes. That allowed the Baum foundation to purchase the house for a dollar this summer. It was in this house – and one room in particular – that another major milestone in Baum’s life took place. He met his wife, Maud Gage. “And is this is the whole purpose and whole reason why we’re here,” she on a recent tour. “Because, according to Frank’s niece, if her aunt and uncle hadn’t met here in this house, there’d be no Oz to talk about.”

Simon Gallaher to Join WICKED in Perth & Brisbane Leading Australian theatre producer John Frost today announced that the role of the Wizard for the Brisbane and Perth seasons of the Broadway musical will be played by much loved musical theatre star Simon Gallaher. Since he first trod the musical theatre stage in 1984 in The Pirates of Penzance, Simon Gallaher has starred in numerous productions including Hello Dolly, The Student Prince, My Fair Lady, The Mikado, HMS Pinafore, The Merry Widow, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum and most recently Hairspray and Spamalot in Brisbane. As well as being a leading star of musical theatre, Simon is an award winning television star, concert performer, musician, pianist, songwriter and successful theatrical producer.

Oz in the News 12.29.14

DOROTHYWIZARDLouisville teen is the heartbeat of new “Wizard of Oz” installment  “I kind of discovered it the same way everyone does. You watch it on television or maybe a VHS or DVD of it,” said Louisville teen Angelo Thomas. The 16-year-old Holy Cross High School student penned the script for “Yellow Brick Road,” an animated movie musical that traces Dorothy’s footsteps as she returns to Oz as an adult. The story’s iconic characters, including Toto and the Tinman, come along for the journey.
“Yeah there are like witches and magic and it’s very fantasy, but it’s still a very human story and it’s really about second chances and about growing up and what that means,” Thomas explained. “We’re in pre-production. We have a lot the cast there already and we’re looking at starting the animation which is very expensive,” Thomas said. Private investors got the project off the ground, though Thomas needs Oz fans to carry the project across the finish line. He says he will launch an online crowd-funding campaign at the start of 2015, with the goal of raising $75,000 to help with animation.

Oz in the News 12.27.14

549de83fa4cc1.preview-620‘Oz’ fans unhappy with Hallmark about 2014 ornament voices  The 2014 offerings include Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, posed behind Dorothy, holding Toto, to recapture the final scene in the Land of Oz before the little girl returns to Kansas. Titled “There’s No Place Like Home,” it is plastic and priced at $34.95, including the tiny batteries to create “sound and motion” highlights, which have Dorothy clicking the heels of her tiny pair of Ruby Slippers as Glinda recites her famed lines prompting Dorothy to reply: “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” But what has fans so upset this year is that the lines of the dialogue have been slightly altered and the ornament does not use the actual scene soundtrack dialogue from the movie, as recited by actresses Billie Burke as Glinda and Judy Garland as Dorothy. Rather, new vocal talents are used to attempt to impersonate the vocals. As for why? Everything always comes down to money. And since it is Ted Turner, along with Warner Bros., who now hold the licensing rights for the original MGM film, merchandising and permission of use gets very pricey. In addition to a pair of ruby slippers as another of the 2014 ornaments, there’s also a Wicked Witch of the West ornament this holiday title “It’s Shoe Time!” for $19.95, with the latter also using altered lines from the film and voice-over actress attempting to mimic the distinct, chilly tones of actress Margaret Hamilton as the green meanie in the film.

Oz in the News 12.22.14

StoryOneida Indian Nation plans to open Oz-themed casino in Chittenango  As New York State opens the door to more casinos, the Oneida Indian Nation is spreading its wings as well. Nation leaders announced plans for a new $20-million casino in Chittenango, with a Wizard of Oz theme. Renderings show a 67,000 square foot facility with more than 430 slot machines and a bingo hall with seats for 500 players. Visitors will have a couple of dining options, a bar, and a store. An opening date for the “Yellow Brick Road Casino” is projected for this spring. The theme honors Oz because Chittenango is the hometown of L. Frank Baum, who wrote the book “Wonderful Wizard of Oz”.
But, the village’s Deputy Mayor Mike Sudol said Chittenango has had a positive relationship with the Oneida Nation in recent years, particularly regarding the marketing of connections to L. Frank Baum and Oz. The village holds Oz-stravaganza each year…and has had financial support from the Oneida Indian Nation.

Oz in the News 12.21.14

Oz in the News 12.19.14

2ACE6BB27-04DB-DDD4-3DCE25A5C34083FF.jpg.pagespeed.ce.jyE43RKpLsO9SfJvz7FKTHE WIZARD OF OZ Coming to Select U.S. Cinemas for Two Nights Only This January  Join DorothyTM, TotoTM and the rest of the crew as they head to Emerald CityTM for a special two-night event brought to you by Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. “TCM Presents: The Wizard of Oz” will be shown in select U.S. cinemas on Sunday, January 11, and Wednesday, January 14, 2015, for two show times each day at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. local time. In addition to the feature, classic film fans will get to enjoy a special introduction from TCM host Robert Osborne.

Oz in the News 12.13.14

4b418c7a61c90814c538f7c7a316136a‘Wizard of Oz’ author’s descendent to make appearance at DeBary Christmas Parade “Frank was my mother’s first cousin, so he makes me his second cousin,” Goettel, a DeBary resident, explained of the connection to the prolific author, who wrote, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which inspired the classic movie. “I’m the last nephew to Auntie Em.” Goettel explained that Baum was inspired by their Aunt Emily Ingerson Waren, and the time he spent on her farm in central New York, to include her in his classic tale. “She was a real homebody,” Goettel explained. “He admired her ways, her strengths, her cooking.” Goettel added that Baum was also inspired by his niece, Dorothy, whom he visited in Kansas in the early 1900s. “His favorite niece, Dorothy, with her parents, moved to Kansas,” he explained. “He went out to visit her and stayed with her, because she was very sickly at a young age.”  The DeBary Christmas Parade will take place at 3 p.m. along N. U.S. Highway 17/92, between Spring Vista Drive, and Poinsettia Drive in DeBary.

Oz in the News 12.10.14

MaguireFirst Guest announced for the 37th annual Oz-Stravaganza! Festival  The International L. Frank Baum and All Things Oz Historical Foundation announced recently that author Gregory Maguire will be attending the 2015 event. Gregory Maguire is the author of “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West”, the novel that inspired the blockbuster musical play, (now in its twelfth year on Broadway).  Maguire will be a part of the weekend’s programming as well as meeting fans and signing autographs. The annual Oz-Stravaganza! Festival celebrates all things Oz in Chittenango, the birthplace of L. Frank Baum, the author of the “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” The event is a fundraiser for the non-profit, all volunteer International L. Frank Baum and All Things Oz Historical Foundation. The dates in 2015 are June 5, 6, and 7.

‘All Things Oz’ Museum Opens for Tours, Shopping  The “All Things Oz” museum, located at 219 Genesee St. in Chittenango will be open for tours and Christmas shopping Dec. 13 and 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The museum is a 501C3 non-profit and is run by an all volunteer staff. 100 percent of the money raised is used for the museum and the annual Oz-Stravaganza! festival.  New Oz merchandise is arriving daily including books, crafts, stuffed animals, tee shirts, wall hangings, collectibles, magnets, painted bricks, posters, trading cards, movies, puzzles, games, buttons, aprons, autographed items, dolls, stickers and much more. Museum memberships are also available. Check out the museum at:

The Wizard and I: Meet Wicked’s Great and Powerful Tim Kazurinsky  “One time my wife called about my kids, so I shut off my squawk box speaker system for a moment. I didn’t hear them announce that they were putting in a different Elphaba because the other Elphaba had gotten sick. I came out for the second act, and there was a different woman on stage. I was the only person in the building who didn’t know that they changed Wicked Witches. I’m like, OK, I’m in my 60s, I know I’m getting old and senile, but I don’t remember this woman from the first act! The first minute or two, I was like, I’ve lost the plot, I’m officially in dementia land. But then I got over it. I steadied the ship and pressed through.”

Oz in the News 12.4.14

WickedPosterWicked: film could be out as soon as 2016  The eagerly-anticipated film adaptation of the hit musical Wicked could be in cinemas in as little as two years. The website Film Divider reports that a presentation by the head of Vue Cinemas, Tim Richards, say that the CEO not only included a slide on Wicked, but a 2016 release date. Billy Elliot director Stephen Daldry has long been rumoured to be attached to the film, with Glee star Lea Michele and One Direction singer Harry Styles rumoured to play the roles of Elphaba and Fiyero. Universal bought the rights to a film version of Wicked before the stage musical, a prequel to The Wizard of Oz by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman, even went into development. The release date is so far unconfirmed by Universal.

Oz Christmas parade to kick off Shipley’s festive celebrations  A SENSATIONAL Shipley Christmas kicks off this weekend with traditional celebrations including a magical pantomime parade to toast the 75th anniversary of the Wizard of Oz. Sing-a-longs, dance and plenty of festive fun is promised in Market Square and Well Croft on Saturday when Rudolph the Reindeer will help Santa Claus guide his huge sleigh into town with Dorothy, the Lion, Wicked Witch and Wizard in tow.

Oz in the News 12.3.14

wicked-witches-of-oz2-posterThe Wicked Witches of Oz – Hedon Pantomime 2015  A PANTO twist on the famous story of Dorothy, Toto and the famous characters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Hedon Drama Group announce their 2015 production – The Wicked Witches of Oz to be performed at the Alexandra Hall on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 22nd – 24th January 2015. A Pantomime for all the family – please click the poster, download and help share the news of this annual traditional performance, with its two-tickets-for-one offer on the Thursday and Matinee on the Saturday.

Over the Rainbow: Judy Garland at MGM at Cinema Arts Centre  Join Film Historian Philip Harwood for a trip down the Yellow Brick Road to explore the fascinating career of one of the most influential actors in Hollywood history, Judy Garland, at the studio that boasted “more stars than there are in heaven” on Monday, December 15 at 7:30 pm at Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington, NY. 631-423-7611  Philip Harwood has had a life-long passion for the arts, especially film. He is currently an Adjunct Lecturer in the Hutton House Lectures at LIU: C.W. Post, and teaches at the 92nd Street Y, and the JCC in Manhattan. He was Coordinator for Lifelong Learning at Queens College, where he also programmed the annual Summer Film Festival.