Oz in the News 8.1.15

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Beyonce offered good witch role in The Wiz Live!  BEYONCE has reportedly been approached to cast a spell over viewers of upcoming live TV musical THE WIZ by starring as Glinda the Good Witch. Producers at NBC, the network behind the upcoming TV adaptation, have already tapped Queen Latifah to play the titular wizard, who was first portrayed by Richard Pryor in the 1978 movie, while they have cast Mary J. Blige as Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West. Now production bosses are seeking to add Beyonce to The Wiz Live! line-up in the role previously made famous onscreen by Lena Horne, although Orange Is the New Black star Uzo Aduba is also shortlisted for the part, according to Eonline.com.

Honoring a château, Oz, and Oscar Peterson: Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival  Pianist Jon Kimura Parker returned to deliver a dazzling rendition of the Wizard of Oz Fantasy  by his composer-friend William Hirtz. Drawing on themes by Harold Arlen (mostly) and Herbert Stothart from the classic movie, Hirtz wrote this showpiece for piano four-hands and later rearranged it for solo piano at Parker’s request. The writing was dense indeed, recalling the concert paraphrases of, say, Leopold Godowsky, who could hardly bear to leave any finger unemployed for more than a nanosecond. If I had heard this piece without also seeing it, it would not have occurred to me that it was all being handled by a single player. Parker led listeners with extravagant panache over the rainbow and down the yellow brick road before arriving at the final ding-dong, leaving a dead witch in his wake.  Download the score here

26 Incredibly Arduous Film Productions  Although Victor Fleming is widely credited as director, no fewer than five other directors were involved at various points in its making. Similarly, its script was credited to Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, and Edgar Allan Woolff (such a fabulous name), but 17 writers had an uncredited hand in it, among them poet Ogden Nash.  Tin Man actor Buddy Ebsen had to be replaced because he was allergic to his aluminium make-up, and was replaced by Jack Haley. The dog who played Dorothy’s loyal companion, Toto, misbehaved, resulting in ruined take after ruined take. Margaret Hamilton, who played The Wicked Witch of the West, was burned during the filming of a Munchkinland scene. Various scenes had to be reshot, and when a two-hour version of the movie was shown to test audiences in June 1939, there were complaints that it was too long.

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