Oz in the News 8.14.15

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Ne-Yo, Elijah Kelley, and Common Join The Wiz Live!  According to Deadline, NBC’s The Wiz Live! has added three more members to its star-studded company. R&B singer Ne-Yo joins the cast as the Tin Man, rap artist Common will play the gatekeeper to Oz, and Elijah Kelley (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) takes on the role of the Scarecrow. As previously announced, the three join a cast starring Queen Latifah (the Wiz), Mary J. Blige (Evillene), David Alan Grier (Cowardly Lion), Stephanie Mills (Aunt Em), Orange Is the New Black star Uzo Aduba (Glinda), Glee‘s Amber Riley (Addaperle), and newcomer Shanice Williams, who takes on the leading role of Dorothy for the live broadcast.

Talk on Judy Garland’s Legacy  Rockland Public Library will host “Moments of Magic,” a talk on Judy Garland by music producer, collector and writer Lawrence Schulman, on Thursday, September 3, at 6 p.m., free and open to the public. Schulman will try to answer the question, “If I had just one hour to convince you of Judy Garland’s place in classic American popular music, what film and television performances would I choose?” Schulman will review Garland’s life and career and show nine audio-video clips; there will be time for questions and answers. Schulman has been responsible for numerous CD sets devoted to Garland over the past 20-odd years, and wrote the liner notes for most of them. He was responsible for the release of Garland’s historic 1935 Decca test records, and also unearthed her 1960 concert at the Paris Olympia and got it issued.

The Man That Got Away: The Life and Songs of Harold Arlen  Over the Rainbow, “Stormy Weather,” and “One for My Baby” are just a few of Harold Arlen’s well-loved compositions. Yet his name is hardly known–except to the musicians who venerate him. At a gathering of songwriters George Gershwin called him “the best of us.” Irving Berlin agreed. Paul McCartney sent him a fan letter and became his publisher. Bob Dylan wrote of his fascination with Arlen’s “bittersweet, lonely world.” A cantor’s son, Arlen believed his music was from a place outside himself, a place that also sent tragedy. When his wife became mentally ill and was institutionalized he turned to alcohol. It nearly killed him. But the beautiful songs kept coming: “Blues in the Night,” “My Shining Hour,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” and “The Man That Got Away.” Walter Rimler drew on interviews with friends and associates of Arlen and on newly available archives to write this intimate portrait of a genius whose work is a pillar of the Great American Songbook.

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