Monthly Archives: November 2015

Oz in the News 11.27.15


“The Wizard of Oz” used to be an annual television event  The Sunday, April 8, 1973, television listing in the Daily Republic featured a large black and white photo of the main cast along with a story that described scenes from the film including one featuring “fantastic fields with giant flowers which move like humans.” Uh, what? It’s like they asked the one person who had never actually seen the film to describe it. Probably the most famous description for a TV listing was written in 1998 by Rick Polito: “Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again.” It went viral. Last Sunday night while thinking about writing this column, I turned on the TV and lo and behold “The Wizard of Oz” was showing on TBS.
While I look back fondly on those days of watching the movie as an in-the-moment event, this is 2015 and I now only endure commercials voluntarily during live sporting events. I recorded it on my DVR, watched it later and thoroughly enjoyed it. Afterwards I didn’t skip down the sidewalk singing “Follow the Yellow Brick Road,” but part of me wanted to.

Oz in the News 11.26.15

0ab4ad66-37e6-4b66-95fa-a12b1a2eaf71“Oz, The Dog Of The Del” – New Children’s Book, Features Fearless Dachshund Set in the early twentieth century, “Oz, Dog of the Del” is a new children’s story in rhyme. The book becomes available for purchase today at retailers in Coronado and online at Amazon and The book features Oz, a fealess dachshund who lives at the Hotel del Coronado. He befriends a young girl named Izzy and takes her on an adventure around the island where they meet Charlie Chaplin filming a movie, “Great White Fleet,” Charles Lindbergh in his airplane and Frank Baum, author of “The Wizard of Oz,” who promises to write Oz and Izzy into his book. The book is 36 pages long with 16 illustrations and a retail price fo $9.95. Kiland, Palermino and Oz, (in costume) will be making appearances at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 4 at Bay Books, 1029 Orange Avenue, 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4 at Wag’N Tails, 945 Orange Avenue, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Artisans Alley Craft Faire, Village Elementary School playground, corner of H and Seventh streets, and 11 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6 at the Hotel Del’s Est. 1888 gift shop.

Oz in the News 11.24.15


Judy Garland’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ Dress Fetches $1.5 Million at Auction  A dress worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz” sold for $1.56 million at an auction in New York on Monday. The blue and white gingham dress, one of 10 thought to have been made for Garland in her role as Dorothy in the movie, was among the top items in the Bonham’s and Turner Classic Movies Hollywood memorabilia auction. Described as bearing sweat stains around the neck but in good condition, it had been expected to sell between $800,000 and $1.2 million. Monday’s $1.56 million sale price includes commission. The buyer was not identified.

Shanice Williams steps into Dorothy’s shoes for NBC’s ‘The Wiz Live!’  Williams says she has a strategy for working with her illustrious co-stars. “I have to pretend that I don’t know how amazing they are just to get through the day,” Williams said, adding that she pretends not to have Ne-Yo’s music on her phone. “I love him so much, but I can’t be fan-girling. I have to do this to cope.” As for stepping into Mills’ and Ross’ glittered heels, the young new Dorothy keeps her grandmother’s words in the back of her mind, doing away with nerves to make the role her own. “Diana and Stephanie, they did it two completely different ways,” Williams said. “But they were legendary. I feel like I have this one chance to make it my own. I connect with Dorothy in a lot of ways, and I think everyone’s going to like what I bring.”

Oz in the News 11.21.15


A Judy Garland “Dorothy” dress is expected to bring in big bucks at auction  “We think of this as such a classic simple look but it actually took several iterations to get to this point. So most of those test dresses from the two weeks that were scrapped and then the examples to get to this point have turned up in the market place. And that’s why you think, ‘oh, I think this dress came up recently.’ So you’re really thinking of those test dresses. But the screen used dress, the screen used gingham print pinafore is actually really quite rare. We know of two examples, this is one of them.”

Bidding on Dorothy’s dress  From the yellow brick road to a Roman empire, the “Treasures from the Dream Factory” movie auction has something for a wide variety of film collectors and lovers. Bonhams auction house and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) have assembled 400 lots for its annual sale that includes costumes, scripts, awards, movie posters and props. SOUNDBITE: Catherine Williamson, director of entertainment memorabilia at Bonhams, saying (English): “To me it’s one of the most democratic, this collecting discipline, because it really does appeal to everybody. Everybody can find something that means something to them in this room.” The top lot is a screen worn dress from “The Wizard of Oz,” which is expected to sell between $800,000 – $1.2 million (USD).



Oz in the News 11.19.15


Queen Latifah and Uzo Aduba are almost unrecognisable in intricate costumes for The Wiz Live! musical production  New character portraits for The Wiz Live!, NBC’s upcoming three-hour TV event, have emerged. The live musical production, set to air on December 3, stars Queen Latifah as The Wiz and Uzo Aduba as Glinda the Good. The Wiz Live!, which features an all African-American cast, is adapted from the 1975 Broadway production of the same name and a modern take on the book, L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Acclaimed Wizard of Oz-Inspired The Woodsman to Return to New York   The Woodsman, a drama inspired by the backstory of L. Frank Baum’s famous Tin Man character, will return to New York in early 2016. It will begin performances January 27 at New World Stages — Stage 5, with opening night set for February 7 for an open run. Written by James Ortiz and directed by Ortiz and Claire Karpen, the play, which features music by Edward W. Hardy and lyrics by Jennifer Loring tells the story of the lonely Tin Woodsman of Oz, who must embark on a journey to protect the love of his life from the evil Wicked Witch of the East. The work premiered at 59E59 Theaters in January 2014 and played a return engagement at the venue in January 2015.

East Lynne Presents “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus  Ever wonder where did Santa Claus grow up?  Why he only delivers toys only on one night?  How he became immortal? These and other questions are answered in L. Frank Baum’s “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus” presented by the award-winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company on Friday, November 27, Saturday, November 28, Sunday, December 6, and Thursday through Saturday, December 10, 11, and 12, all at 8:00p.m., with a matinee on December 12 at 2:00p.m.  The location is The First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes St. in Cape May, where the company is in residence. This adaptation of the Baum classic was written by ELTC’s artistic director Gayle Stahlhuth who also performs the thirty-some characters in storytelling fashion. Not only has she been praised by patrons and reviewers alike for her solo work, but when she last performed this one-person tour-de-force in 2010, it was designated an “American Masterpiece”: part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Masterpieces Series, acknowledging those who introduce Americans to “the best of their cultural and artistic legacy.”

Oz in the News 11.13.15

Get ready for The Wiz Live!, starring Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Shanice Williams, David Alan Grier, Ne-Yo, Elijah Kelley, Common and more, Thursday, December 3 at 8/7c on NBC.

Oz in the News 11.12.15

af92b0a0-890b-11e5-91b4-577fa113b284_Oz1-LOGONEWSole mission to create ultra-hip men’s shoes in Singapore Chen Yieh is a 66-year-old shoe maverick who has been on a mission for nearly two decades in Singapore to sharpen the sartorial sense of men. He passionately believes that the shoes make the man and speaks out against bland conformity. Many men have worn his Beatlesque boots and other cutting edge footwear bearing the imprint of The Wizard of Oz and experienced moments of shoegazing from admirers. His men’s shoe showroom cum warehouse may be located at a remote commercial building but it has drawn steady streams of local customers ranging from celebrities arriving in their flashy sports cars to conservatively dressed executives taking their first tentative steps to raise their hip quotient.

Gregory Maguire Is One Of Albany Public Library’s Literary Legends Two authors with strong Albany ties Gregory Maguire and Barbara Smith will be honored at the second annual Literary Legends Event Saturday November 14th. The Literary Legends Event recognizes outstanding local authors, illustrators, and publishers for their extraordinary contributions to the art of letters. Maguire and Smith join last year’s honorees William Kennedy, Paul Grondhal, and Amy Biancolli at Albany Literary Legends. Maguire is an Albany native who received international acclaim for hisWicked series of novels. The first of which focused on L. Frank Baum’s the Wicked Witch of the West and was turned into the wildly successful Broadway musical Wicked. He has written dozens of books and short stories, his latest is After Alice: A Novel, ​a magical new twist on Alice’s adventures in Wonderland published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carol’s beloved classic.

Marissa Mayer may have spent $70K so top execs could dress up as ‘Wizard of Oz’ characters  Last fall, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer held an elaborate “Wizard of Oz” themed photo shoot with the company’s top execs that some say cost $70,000. Mayer planned the photo shoot in preparation for Yahoo’s annual “End of the Year” party. Although she meant the shoot to boost morale, Swisher reports that some employees found its price embarrassingly high.

Macy’s Day Parade circa 1940’s

Oz in the News 11.10.15


Elements Of Oz  The Builders Association has created a new 75-minute work, Elements Of Oz, directed by Marianne Weems, in which the classic film, The Wizard Of Oz, becomes what the company calls “a lighthearted 21st-century mash-up featuring YouTube fanatics, heavy metal, and a heartfelt recreation of the iconic film.” Not to mention that audience members are asked to turn on their phones and tablets, having downloaded the OZ App, for an extra layer of visuals on their handheld screens during the performance in a display of augmented reality, and an increased shared experience, with everyone looking not only at the stage but also at their phones. “It all started with looking at The Wizard Of Oz. The film represented new, groundbreaking reality at the time, and that led to our using augmented reality and developing the app for the performance,” says Switser, who has worked with this company for over eight years. He points out that augmented reality is a term developed for marketing or real estate, and using your cell phone to reveal another reality or way to see things. In this case, additional visual layers with poppies and flying monkeys can be seen through the app, which also displays videos and triggers sound effects. Jesse Garrison served as the video associate and worked on how the augmented reality would trigger people’s phones.

See the Wizard! Broadway Balances America Pulls Back the Curtain on New Wizard of Oz Tour  Pay all of your attention to the people behind the curtain! Broadway Balances America, the special six-part series airing on The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television, continues its second season on November 17 (the episode will re-air on November 24) with an exclusive look at the new touring production of The Wizard of Oz. Tune in as The Balancing Act takes viewers behind the scenes of the reimagined musical, featuring interviews with the show’s cast and creatives. In this episode, correspondent Amber Milt visits the production’s costume shop in Baltimore, where Sarah Lasko— the young actress playing Dorothy and a Maryland native—talks about the meaning of “no place like home” before embarking on the U.S. tour. Viewers will see the transformation as Lasko is fitted into her iconic costume for the first time, while exploring what’s behind these famous female characters and the shoes they wear, and how new musical numbers penned by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice bring a classic back to life.

Amazon Orders Trio of Kids’ Originals  Amazon has placed an order for three new original kids’ series, Dino Dana, The Kicks and Lost in Oz, as well as the half-hour special Shaun the Sheep: The Farmer’s Llamas. All three titles will become available for Prime members in the U.K., U.S., Germany and Austria next year. Lost in Oz is an animated adventure comedy that is a contemporary reimagining of The Wizard of Oz.

Oz in the news 11.9.15


Review: ‘Rainbow’ a moving look at icon’s last days  When Garland died at 47, more than 20,000 people turned out for her funeral and her fame endures today. In an interview two years before her death, she said being hailed as a “legend” hurt as much as it helped her. Sudden fame at 13 in her “backyard” movie musicals and “The Wizard of Oz” put her on the path to destruction and she never stopped searching for safe harbor. As in all of Garland’s concerts, Bowman concludes “End of the Rainbow” with a moving performance of “Over the Rainbow.” Garland once said that her signature song represented her own enduring quest for happiness. But unlike the little bluebirds in the song, she never found it.

Oz in the News 11.6.15

1229056_wicked-flying-monkeys-3dGrindstone flys with FilmSharks’ ‘Monkeys’ Alberto Mar directed the animation set within the Wizard Of Oz universe created by L Frank Baum and told from the perspective of the titular characters as they fight to free themselves from the rule of the wicked witch. The Book Of Life director Jorge Gutierrez wrote the story, created character designs and served as executive producer. Grindstone’s head of acquisitions Stan Wertlieb says, “This is such a fresh and unique look at the world of OZ. Kids and their families are sure to be enchanted.”

judy-judy-judyHelen Sheals, Belinda Wollaston, Lucy Penrose as Judy Garland  Through the Mill chronicles the turbulent life of the legendary singer, her rise from teenager to MGM movie star, from “has-been” to concert hall darling and her short-lived career as a TV personality. On film, on stage or in people’s living rooms every Sunday evening, Garland was, and continues to be, one of the biggest stars of Hollywood’s golden age. As conflicted as she was celebrated,Through the Mill gives the audience an opportunity to go beyond the rainbow and witness the life of a woman destined for greatness, one who is as loved today as she was when she made her way along the yellow brick road.