Monthly Archives: October 2015

Oz in the News 10.31.15

kittyinoz_mainThe Wizard of Oz meets Hello Kitty in new attraction at JB theme park Hello Kitty in Oz is the latest attraction to open in SANRIO HELLO KITTY TOWN in Puteri Harbour, Johor. Fans can look forward to this whimsical combination as it opens to the general public tomorrow, Oct 31. Just in time for Halloween! Guests who visit the new attraction will each receive a smart electronic device in the shape of a Hello Kitty figurine at the start of each game. The device will have to be used to kickstart each activity. Those who enjoy collecting Hello Kitty memorabilia have an extra reason to visit the park for its newest themed attraction as it offers a retail shop at the end of the game that can only be accessed by guests who visit Hello Kitty in Oz. For more information, visit:

Oz in the News 10.17.15

greater-gulf-state-fair-2015-logojpg-87257d0195418768Oh, my! Greater Gulf State Fair opens Friday, with ‘Wizard of Oz’ theme  As patrons enter the main concourse at The Grounds starting Friday, they’ll pass through an area designed by master decorator Ron Barrett. “And then as soon as you turn into the big Hocklander building, I think people are just going to be amazed by this piece of art that Bruce Larsen is creating,” Tindle said. “He’s created a 20-foot-tall Emerald City.” As patrons follow the Yellow Brick Road, so to speak, they’ll find some familiar attractions, including two days of rodeo action, 4-H and Future Farmers of America exhibitions and competitions, an extensive midway and a children’s ride area, carnival games, an array of food and more.

Clarksville to host Great Oz Halloween Fest Oct. 30-31  Clarksville’s Halloween Fest event kicks off on Friday night at 7 p.m., with a free outdoor premier of the latest released movie, OzLand. The multi-award winning movie OzLand, will make its St. Louis-area premier in Clarksville. One of the highlights of the Halloween Fest will be a Guinness World Record Attempt, for the most people dressed as Wizard of Oz characters in one place. You can help with setting with this World Record attempt by coming dressed as one of your favorite Wizard of Oz characters. Don’t have a costume? There’s no worry. There will have booths set up on sight with kid’s costumes for sale and several adult costumes available for rent.

Oz in the News 10.24.15

The Wiz Live! 05NBC’s THE WIZ LIVE! Will Feature New Song by NE-YO, Plus Movie Tune for ‘Scarecrow’  The live TV musical will feature a new song, written by NE-YO, Elijah Kelley, Harvey Mason, Jr. and Stephen Oremus. It is sung by Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion as they build up their confidence to kill Evillene. The additional tune is part of the whole company’s goal to take THE WIZ to a whole new level for modern audiences. Also confirmed, Elijah Kelley will be performing “You Can’t Win” from THE WIZ movie in place of “I Was Born On The Day Before Yesterday” from the musical.

Oz in the News 10.22.15

5627bedcdbd31.imageWest Side maze takes guests to the Land of Oz  A family-owned and operated corn maze is entertaining guests for a 13th consecutive Halloween season. Fantozzi Farms, operated by Paul and Denise Fantozzi, packs hours of family-friendly fun into 25 acres of corn mazes with more than five miles of paths. The operation also includes a pumpkin patch, pipe slides, pig races on weekends, hay rides, a corn seed pit, cow train rides, corn cannons and hay bale pyramids.  Fantozzi Farms, located at 2665 Sperry Ave., Patterson, CA is open weekends through Oct. 31 and weekdays by appointment for school field trips.

Vincent D’Onofrio to Play the Wizard in NBC’s ‘Emerald City’  Vincent D’Onofrio has been tapped to play the Wizard of Oz in Emerald City, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The 10-episode, straight-to-series drama centers on 20-year-old Dorothy Gale (True Detective’s Adria Arjona) and her K9 police dog who are transported to a mystical land of competing kingdoms, lethal warriors, dark magic and a bloody battle for supremacy. The series takes place in the fabled Land of Oz in a way never seen before, where wicked witches don’t stay dead for long and a young girl becomes a headstrong warrior who holds the fate of kingdoms in her hands.

TOM MCGOWAN as The Wizard in Wicked  Best known internationally as KACL Station Manager ‘Kenny Daly’ in over 40 episodes of Frasier, opposite Kelsey Grammer, Tom McGowan made his West End debut playing The Wizard at London’sApollo Victoria Theatre, where he continues in the role until Saturday 12th March 2016.

‘Oz’ is a delightful new take on an old story   It is altogether fitting that the Lambs Players Theatre here in Coronado should be the one to debut a new musical, Oz,based on L. Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz.”  Baum used to vacation at the nearby Hotel del Coronado, and some of his later stories in the Oz series were said to be penned there. Besides being a musical treat, with the cast singing and dancing to the rhythms of bluegrass, gospel and salsa, Oz is a treat for people who enjoy dialects.  The Munch Kin people speak in Irish and Scottish accents; the witches seem archly English; the scarecrow is a hillbilly; the tin man is African-American, and the Cowardly Lion is Latino.  As for Dorothy– what else? — she’s from Kansas.

Oz in the news 10.20.15

Screen_Shot_2015-10-19_at_11.16.30_AM_t658Rough and inventive, world-premiere Oz comes to Coronado  Oz re-introduces us to familiar territory. Which presents a tricky challenge: how to keep ahead of the audience? Move fast — and with urgency. In the movie, the Wicked Witch of the West terrorizes from the start (is Dorothy — are we? — mere images in her crystal ball?). In Oz, she’s absent. The first act merely gathers the principals together. They sing backstory songs but without the overriding menace on her broom. Oz has a hit-and-miss quality, inventive parts but the structure needs a great deal of fine-tuning. The Lamb’s production, however, has an engaging, “pull it together” feel. To a person director Kerry Meads, the designers, and the cast are fully committed.

Review: Lamb’s ‘Oz’ an entertainingly down-home saga  While the songs draw on a variety of styles, from bluegrass to folk to country to something resembling Kurt Weill pop-opera, they take their cues from the rootsy textures of conductor-bassist Patrick Marion’s excellent eight-piece band. So instead of “Over the Rainbow,” we get the guitar- and banjo-driven “Make It Right,” a rousing statement of purpose sung by a fierce and resourceful Dorothy (played by Megan Carmitchel). And while the familiar comrades whom Dorothy meets along the journey — the Scarecrow (James Royce Edwards), the Lion (Fernando Vega) and the Woodsman (Bryan Barbarin) — still each get individual themes, the sentiments are generally pitched a shade or two darker.

Did WIZARD OF OZ’s Margaret Hamilton Predict the Concept for WICKED?  In a 1975 appearance on the classic children’s show MR. ROGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD, actress Margaret Hamilton spoke about her personal take on her iconic character, one that freakishly sounds a lot like the concept for the hit Broadway musical WICKED.

Watch the first video in our exciting new series Out of Oz: Wicked Studio Sessions, where favorite Wicked alumni and current performers sing reimagined versions of Wicked songs. Enjoy this duet version of “Defying Gravity” with Elphaba Rachel Tucker, and former Fiyero Aaron Tveit!

Oz in the News 10.19.15

9036203_G“Wizard of Oz” display attracts onlookers, raises money for charity  The Halloween season is out in full display in Milwaukee neighborhoods but one particular house in Bay View is getting lots of attention. It’s a tradition that began 14 years ago for Andy Reid and his partner. “I’ve always loved Halloween I think it’s a great time of year makes everyone feel like a kid… we just started building displays and it grew every since we came here,” Reid said. “It’s a crazy version of the Wizard of Oz… there’s a couple of details we want everybody to have fun with,” Reid said. Characters like Dorothy, the scarecrow, and some animated trees that have been an instant hit. Aside from entertaining, Andy and his partner want to make a difference in their community. They set up a box up front, for people to make donations. The donations go to the organization “Pathfinders” and “Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee.” The display will be on until October 31st.

Oz in the News 10.16.15

UntitledThe Wizard of Oz comes to life at fantastical new playground  The Wizard of Oz comes to life at fantastical new playgroundWhen visitors drive through Watkins Regional Park in Prince George’s County, they may notice a few odd elements as they near the end of the grounds. Faces appear in trees that otherwise stand tall and strong; sounds of musical chimes float through the air; and yellow bricks that sparkle in the sunlight replace the old concrete sidewalk. A storybook sign under a rainbow arch reads, “Welcome: Home of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” Suddenly, the scenery makes sense. Legs from the Wicked Witch of the West stick out from under Auntie Em’s tornado-ravaged home; tall flowers and a farm tractor sit in the field of poison poppies; flying monkeys hang from the trees; and Oz’s Emerald City towers above. There’s also a big red barn, a state fair, a giant ruby slipper, and of course, a scarecrow, a lion and a tinman — not to mention a handful of children running throughout. The Wizard of Oz playground is the newest addition to Prince George’s County’s collection of 26 “imagination” themed playgrounds.

THE WIZARD OF OZ National Tour to Launch This December in Cleveland  BroadwayWorld has just confirmed that the North American tour of the new stage adaptation of THE WIZARD OF OZ will launch on December 1, 2015 at Playhouse Square in Cleveland, OH. THE WIZARD OF OZ had its world premiere at The London Palladium Theatre in March of 2011. After a successful West End run, the production had its North American premiere in Toronto in December of 2012, and toured the US from September of 2013 through June of 2014. THE WIZARD OF OZ will feature the same award-winning creative team from London and Toronto: Jeremy Sams(direction), Robert Jones (set and costume design), Arlene Phillips (choreography), Hugh Vanstone (lighting design),Mick Potter (sound design), Jon Driscoll & Daniel Brodie (video/projection design), David Cullen (orchestrations) and Graham Hurman (musical supervision). Animals will be provided by William Berloni.

Review ‘OzLand’ would need a wizard to stretch thin premise  The bright, saturated cinematography and minimalist guitar-based score by Keatzi Gunmoney are the greatest strengths of “OzLand,” but they can’t overcome the meandering story and stilted dialogue. The movie — directed, written, produced, shot and edited by Michael Williams — takes what could be an interesting concept for a short film and stretches it across 105 minutes. The ideas are not deep enough and the dramatic tension isn’t real enough to sustain this feature.

The Complete Listing of All Public Children’s Literature Statues in the United States  We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. We’re in Alaska! On top of Reliable Sheet Metal, as it happens. Legend has it that this motley crew all began with a single Tin Man. The workers in the shop were just bored one day and made him. But Tin Man proved so popular that they decided to add a character every year.  There’s a little more information to be found here.  The tornado is my favorite.

Oz in the News 10.14.15

5TopsOzDeliTops Markets formally opens Wizard of Oz-themed store in Chittenango  Tops Markets has unveiled its new “Wonderful Wizard of Oz”-themed store location with a formal opening in Chittenango. Based on the famous novel by Chittenango native L. Frank Baum, the store’s décor pays homage to the author’s famous tale which is marking its 115th anniversary in 2015. The décor includes familiar characters and faces like the cowardly lion, tin man, and the flying monkeys, Tops said. The company invested $250,000 on improvements at the Chittenango store.

They’re Off to See the Wizard in The Wiz Live!  Check the just-released key art to see 18-year-old newcomer Shanice Williams as Dorothy, the Kansas farm girl who lands in the land of Oz after a disastrous tornado, David Alan Grier as the Cowardly Lion, Ne-Yo (yes, that Ne-Yo!) as the Tin Man, Elijah Kelley (Hairspray) as the Scarecrow and an adorable puppy as the little dog.

Oz Celebration: Coronado Island Party  CORONADO ISLAND… might have some of the Oz-est cred in all the land, thanks to the fact that author L. Frank Baum penned many a fantastical adventure while residing in the San Diego burg. Not only did he spend quite a bit of time there, but he played a designer, too, for the Hotel del Coronado (those crown chandeliers in the main ballroom are straight from Mr. Baum’s imagination). And Coronado pauses a couple of times each year to pay homage to his books and film, whether it is the summertime Winkie Con or Celebrate Oz! on Saturday, Oct. 17. Celebrate Oz! is just ahead, and much like in the story, a mayor will make a cameo, though it shall be Mayor Casey Tanaka of Coronado, do note, and not the Mayor of Munchkinland.

Lost in Transition: Meet the Transgender Princess of ‘The Marvelous Land of Oz’  Learning about Ozma of Oz from a friend a few years back came just before my own personal revelation about being transgender, which I didn’t handle as deftly as Ozma does at the climax of this story. So it’s a story that carries personal weight with me. Like everyone else, I am a product of competing, at times contradictory, social forces, navigating the mixed messages of the world. The world told me to be one way, and so I put up a wall between myself and this side of myself that I didn’t want to acknowledge, and over the years, cracks appeared and I tried not to notice.

WIZARD OF OZ Among 25 Most Re-Watchable Movies of All Time  The folks at Five Thirty Eight recently conducted a SurveyMonkey poll to find out what are the 25 Most Rewatchable movies of all time. Among the results, men favored THE GODFATHER films while women appear to lean more towards the Julie Andrews classic, THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Also making the Top 25 were THE WIZARD OF OZ, GREASE, THE LION KING and and THE PRINCESS BRIDE.

Oz in the News 10.13.15

imgID41611895There’s no place like Bradford as crowds celebrate Echoes of Oz festival  FESTIVAL-GOERS had a feeling they weren’t in Bradford any more as Munchkins, flying monkeys and witches took over City Park. The three-day Echoes of Oz festival saw the mirror pool transformed into the Yellow Brick Road as the classic story of Dorothy’s adventures was retold with a distinctively Bradfordian flavour.  A huge O-shaped screen showed showed films and staged performances about Dorothy’s journey while the big screen transmitted tales of Bradford citizens’ hearts, brains and courage. There were colourful performances each lunchtime and multimedia shows each evening, with the bells of City Hall’s clock tower regularly chiming the tune to Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Children squelched along the yellow sponge ‘bricks’ making up the colourful pathway, explored Dorothy’s house and slid down a sparkling Ruby Slipper Slide.

elements-of-oz-fb.jpgThe ‘Elements of Oz’: A new and inevitable way of experiencing theater  Mostly upbeat and comical, the play explored the dark and unspoken history of the 1939 film starring Judy Garland. Horrors include the second- and third-degree burns experienced by Wicked Witch of the West actress Margaret Hamilton, the asbestos snow that woke Dorothy in the field of poppies and of course, the gratuitous drug abuse of young Judy Garland, who used drugs to maintain a horrendous working schedule. Gloomy themes revealed themselves from underneath loads of slapstick humor. Unexpected fun included Dorothy with a moustache played by male actor Sean Donovan, up-close and personal interviews with Salman Rushdie and Ayn Rand and a techno dance interlude.

Oz in the News 10.10.15

oz1_r900x493At Lamb’s, an all-American ‘OZ’ “The approach is that it’s an American fairy tale based on (the United States) at the turn of the 19th century. So you have a dusty, dirty Kansas, and the musical approach is sort of rootsy. “What we’ve got is a sort of mixture of a vocabulary that comes from American music — we’ve got a ragtime song, a lot of bluegrass and country and folk.” And while the show should still be suitable for children, it may not be quite the bright Technicolor take that many remember from the classic 1939 movie. “There are dark things in the book,” Lorenz notes, “and the things that are scarier that made it interesting to me. That sort of permeated through all the characters.” Its songs are all new (no “Over the Rainbow” here), and Lorenz also dispenses with the movie’s conceit that the tornado-borne adventures of the Kansas farm girl Dorothy (played at Lamb’s by Megan Carmitchel) may have been a dream. “I like the idea from the book that this all really happened,” Lorenz says.

dfgdBroadway-Aimed Judy Garland Musical Announces Cast for NC “World Premiere”  Ruby Rakos, who appeared in the ensemble of Broadway’s Billy Elliot, has been confirmed to play the role of Judy Garland in what’s being billed as the world premiere of the new musical Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz at Flat Rock Playhouse in North Carolina. Other cast members were announced Oct. 9. Previews begin Nov. 27; the limited engagement is scheduled through Dec. 19. Another pre-Broadway production of the same property is scheduled to open at Goodspeed Musicals in September 2016. The show tells the story of Garland’s childhood up to the time she is cast as Dorothy in the film classic “The Wizard of Oz.”