Monthly Archives: June 2016

Oz in the News 6.28.16


The Emerald City Ball 2016: The Best Looks From the ‘Wizards of Oz’-Inspired Dance Party  If you were looking to go “somewhere over the rainbow” this weekend in New York City, then you probably found yourself at Supercinema at the McKittrick Hotel. On Saturday night, the West Chelsea spot best known for “Sleep No More” hosted The Emerald City Ball — a dance party inspired The Wizard of Oz— and revelers came out in sexy, fashion-y interpretations of the iconic film’s many characters. The event was billed as part of the city’s Pride Weekend, and portions of ticket proceeds benefited the Equality Florida Pulse Victims Fund and Everytown for Gun Safety.

For Pride, a Pajama Party and a Trip to Oz  Various pop-up performances featured iterations of the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, an “Ease on Down the Road” from “The Wiz” Madonna mash-up, the Wicked Witch singing “I Put a Spell on You,” and Dorothy in both black and white and Technicolor, thanks to the magic of theatrical makeup and lighting. Only a few hundred come to “Sleep No More” at a time, but 1,300 guests came to the McKittrick’s Pride party. These guests were asked to come in costume, preferably as a character from the movie—be it Auntie Em, a flying monkey or a Munchkin. “But for those who weren’t particularly daring, they could come in all green,” said Mr. Hawas.

Oz in the News 6.27.16

Todrick2Straight Outta Oz – Todrick Hall’s brand new epic  The first thing you need to know about Straight Outta Oz, an L. Frank Baum-inspired magnum opus by YouTube superstar Todrick Hall, is that it’s not meant to be taken as just a visual album, a la Beyoncé — it actually plays more like a musical; one that makes great use of several other performers that are featured, and not just as backup pieces, either. Secondly, in spite of the clout he obviously possesses, it’s crazy to think that Hall is still sitting pretty on the cusp of fame, and not completely immersed in it. Luckily for him, several celebrities; including, but not limited to, an American Idol winner, several RuPaul’s Drag Race favorites (including most champion, Bob the Drag Queen), a popular comedian/musician, a wildly successful YouTube player and New York Times best-selling author, multiple TV stars, and a well-liked and well-respected Oscar-nominated actor with impressive singing chops, seem to be willing to do what they can to help him get there by loaning their faces to this project. However, make no doubt about it: even if he did not have such an impressive support team in his back pocket, Straight Outta Oz is chock full of the power, influence and wonder to push Todrick into bonafide super-stardom all on its own — if that’s even what he wants, that is.

Amazon Partners With Polygon and Bureau of Magic for Anime Series ‘Lost in Oz’  Tokyo-based digital animation studio Polygon Pictures and L.A.-based production company Bureau of Magic are partnering to make a 3D CG anime series for Amazon Prime. The series, “Lost in Oz,” is based on Frank Baum’s classic “Wizard of Oz” stories and was developed and produced by Bureau of Magic’s Mark Warshaw, Darin Mark, Jared Mark and Abram Makowka. The music is by Adam Berry (“The Penguins of Madagascar”), the theme music by Mark Mothersbaugh (“The Lego Movie”) and the design by Flaunt Productions (“Under Siege”). The director and launch date for the new series have not yet been announced, though a pilot was streamed in June of last year.

Kelly Sue Deconnick Joins Writing Team For NBC’s ‘Emerald City’   DeConnick made an announcement at the Milkfed Criminals panel at Heroes Con that she has been working on episodes of ‘Emerald City’. The upcoming NBC fantasy drama based on ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and directed by ‘The Cell’ and ‘Mirror Mirror’ filmmaker Tarsem Singh finds the characters made famous by L. Frank Baum’s acclaimed books and the 1939 film reimagined in a dark, edgy way where, as DeConnick puts it, “Dorothy has a machine gun and Toto is a German Shephard”. The show stars ‘True Detective’ and ‘Person of Interest’ star Adria Arjona as Dorothy Gale and Vincent D’Onofrio as The Wizard, as well as Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Ana Ularu, Gerran Howell, Joely Richardson, Jordan Loughran, Mido Hamada, and Florence Kasumba.

Judy Garland’s Daughter Lorna Luft Sings ‘Over the Rainbow’ for the First Time in Tribute to Orlando, Stonewall and Her Late Mother Lorna Luft, daughter of the late Judy Garland, gave an emotional performance of her mother’s signature tune “Over the Rainbow” at New York City’s Feinstein’s/54 Below on Wednesday night – the first she’s ever given of the song, she says. “I’ve never sung this song,” Luft told concertgoers before the performance. “Not because it was too hard for me emotionally, but because I always felt you can’t improve on perfect. But I thought to myself, if I’m ever going to sing this, now is the time.” The emotional moment came 47 years to the day after Garland died at the age of 47, reportedly due to an accidental overdose. Garland’s funeral and memorial service was held in Manhattan on June 27, 1969. In the early morning hours of June 28 that same year, the New York Police Department raided the gay-friendly Greenwich Village tavern Stonewall Inn, where a group had gathered to mourn the late singer.

Oz in the News 6.22.16


Interview: Rachel Womble of THE WIZARD OF OZ  “I think for a lot of my colleagues the comparison to the movie characters has been a challenge. However, I think for Glinda, Billie Burke just wasn’t featured that much. Of course she was there, and she played an integral part, but she didn’t have those really distinct moments that some of the other characters had. I think the audience was open to whatever spin I put on her. So I felt the freedom to create her, and give her some extra pizzazz! It was definitely informed though by what I imagine might have been included if she had had more screen time!”

A dream start to a long career on the stage for Colchester’s Rob Gathercole  It’s every drama student’s dream. To leave college and immediately get your first job touring the country performing in some of the most beautiful places the UK has to offer. But Elmstead Market actor and musician Rob Gathercole has gone one better because not only has he scooped a part on a new production of the Wizard of Oz, he’s also written the music for it. “We started a few months ago with James Tobias writing the lyrics and me writing the music, and it was while we were doing that James put up the casting call for the show itself and I wondered whether there might be a part in the show for me. The 28-date tour starts next month and will take the troupe all over the country to such picturesque venues as Blenheim Palace and Leeds Castle. Based on the original book rather than the Hollywood film, appearing alongside Rob will be Rachel Stratton will play Dorothy, having previously starred in international tours of Shrek the Musical as well as the West End production of Rainbow Magic Live. and Matthew Forbes who plays the Scarecrow, straight from his role as associate director of puppetry and movement on the National Theatre’s worldwide smash hit War Horse. For more information go to the theatre company’s website at

Oz in the News 6.20.16

John Fricke and Bronson Pinchot at Oz-Stravaganza (photograph by Colleen Baldwin)

John Fricke and Bronson Pinchot at Oz-Stravaganza (photograph by Colleen Baldwin)

Baum-Neal House to get special attention The board of trustees of the International L. Frank Baum All Things Oz Historical Foundation could not be more pleased to announce that the Baum-Neal House project has a designer and lead contractor. Actor Bronson Pinchot and NEPA Home Pros worked together last year on the DIY network show, “The Bronson Pinchot Project.” This year, they are bringing their expertise in saving historic homes to Syracuse to help save the Baum-Neal House. The property, located at 678 W. Onondaga Street is the very place where author L. Frank Baum met his bride-to-be Maud Gage. Their lifelong love story will be told at the restored home as well as the story of how her influence helped him to write down his stories, giving us the American fairy tale, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” Having the immense talent of someone like Bronson Pinchot to donate his design work on the building will help us to raise funds for the project and help to keep our costs at a minimum. The International L. Frank Baum All Things Oz Historical Foundation is a 100-percent volunteer group and a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Community members and Oz fans alike who wish to donate to this project can do so via PayPal at the foundation website or they can contact the organization via email at or by phone at (315) 687-7772.

Author pens Oz book with Ionia ties  Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and the rest of the Wizard of Oz cast is roaming the streets of Ionia this weekend, June 17 and 18, during the Wizard of Oz Festival. Authors James and Amanda Wallace are visitng Ionia this weekend and are debuting their new book, “Nomes of Oz” which features a bit of Ionia history. “Our newest book, which is our third co-written book and my tenth book, features Enarc Brenkert, which is the name on the projector in the back of this (Ionia) Theatre. It’s an old antique project from 1939 and in the story Enarc Brenkert shows up in the Land of Oz and Mr. Tinker is called upon to repair him. He gets him to work and lo and behold it turns out there is a film in there and it’s the ‘Wizard of Oz’,” James Wallace said.

SAVOY JAZZ REISSUES JUDY GARLAND ON VINYL  Savoy Jazz, the iconic jazz label dating back to the beginnings of bebop, will continue their series of high quality vinyl reissues with three classic titles from their catalog to be released today, June 17th 2016. The reissues include Judy Garland’ “Greatest Hits Live,”on audiophile quality vinyl. This special reissue includes recordings taken from the legendary CBS Television series “The Judy Garland Show”—which ran for 26 episodes beginning in 1963. The project is a celebratory sampling of her most popular hits and features rare beloved duets including the all-time classic “Get Happy/Happy Days Are Here Again” with Barbra Streisand. Other guests include Tony Bennett, Ray Bolger and Ethel Merman.

Judy Garland Talk & Concert Set for Northeast Harbor Library, 6/29  Award-winning music producer, critic and translator Lawrence Schulman will give a talk onJudy Garland, entitled “Moments of Magic,” at the Northeast Harbor Library (Maine) on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at 5 P.M. Admission is free. The one-and-a-quarter hour talk will examine Judy Garland‘s life and career, and feature nine audio-video clips, to be followed by a question and answer. Schulman will endeavor to answer the question: “If I had just one hour to convince you ofJudy Garland‘s place in classic American popular music, what film and television performances would I choose?” The talk will be followed by a mini-concert of songs Garland sang by famed jazz vocalist Diane Linscott and the equally renowned pianist Scott Cleveland.

Oz in the News 6.17.16


Wicked movie gets a 2019 release date  Universal Pictures has announced that it will release the film adaptation of the Tony-winning musical on Dec. 20, 2019, once again bringing the witches of Oz to the big screen. Billy Elliot director Stephen Daldry is shepherding Wicked to theaters with producer Marc Platt. Composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz and book writer Winnie Holzman adapted the musical from Gregory Maguire’s bestselling novel of the same name, and the pair will also write the film’s screenplay. There’s no casting info yet, but Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth originated the roles of Elphaba and Glinda on Broadway, both earning Tony nominations in 2004. (Menzel beat out Chenoweth for best actress in a musical.) In all, Wicked has earned 10 Tony Award nominations and three wins, becoming the fastest Broadway musical in history to earn more than $1 billion.

Oz in the News 6.15.16


Wizard of Oz Festival flys into town  For the third year downtown Ionia will be transformed into the Land of Oz for the annual Wizard of Oz Festival. The festival runs Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 18 with a kickoff party Thursday night at the Commission on Aging. This year the festival is adding several new characters to their already expanded list. Joining Dorothy and crew will be Auntie Em, a couple flying monkeys and a winkie, which is a guard at the witch’s castle. Organizer and Ionia Downtown Development Authority Linda Curtis talked about her favorite part of the festival. An Oz artist will be on hand Friday and Saturday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Ionia Theatre for a colored pencil drawing class. Vincent Myrand is an illustrator who has drawn different books, has been commissioned by Disney and his speciality is Wizard of Oz. That class is $20. He will also be doing Wizard of Oz character caricatures after his class near the theatre.

Oz in the News 6.14.16


The McKittrick Hotel’s Next Supercinema to Celebrate THE WIZARD OF OZ  New York’s most dynamic new dance party, Supercinema, returns this month with The Emerald City Ball in honor of The Wizard of Oz on Saturday, June 25, 2016 at The McKittrick Hotel (530 W 27th Street, New York, NY), home of Sleep No More. Supercinema, a one-of-a-kind nightlife experience told through a cinematic lens, invites guests to a music-and-live-performance-filled dance party inspired by the world of that month’s film or film series, as with recent installments that immersed partygoers in worlds of Baz Luhrmann‘s Romeo + Juliet in February, James Bond 007 in March, Alice in Wonderland in April, and most recently The Great Gatsby in May. Each Supercinema party requires guests arrive in costumes inspired by the film, which for The Wizard of Oz means dressing as Dorothy Gale, Tin Woodman, Scarecrow, Wicked Witch of the West, Cowardly Lion, Glinda (Good Witch), Flying Monkey, Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, The Wizard, Emerald City Citizen (All Green), Rainbow Attire, Lollipop Guild, or Lullaby League. The evening features scenic installations, pop-up theatrical performances, costumes galore and an all-night open bar with your ticket. Ticket packages are on-sale now. For info and tickets, visit

‘Oz’ exhibit at Figge may bring healing after massacre  A new exhibit about the “Wizard of Oz” at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport might become a healing experience after a mass shooting Sunday in Florida. Willard Carroll of Camden, Maine, was on hand Sunday afternoon at the museum to talk about the 110-object collection that belongs to him and Tom Wilhite and is on display at the museum. “Art does heal,” Carroll said. “It’s not just escape. It’s a way of making sense out of all of the randomness out there.” During his hour-long presentation, Carroll answered question after question about the collection, which he began when he was a child. His first items were hand puppets of several of the characters. “The fantasy world of Oz was my first approach to a world larger than myself,” he said. “I think it helped make me very social.”

Three things you may not know about St. Louis’ ties to ‘The Wizard of Oz’  This year marks the twelfth time since 1942 that The Muny has put “The Wizard of Oz” on stage. Although the book had been turned into a musical much earlier, the production The Muny put on in 1942, three years after the movie was released, was ground-breaking. “They were the very first theater anywhere to do ‘The Wizard of Oz’ on stage with the songs from the movie,” Fricke said. “They knew after three years that people wanted to hear those songs. They borrowed the orchestrations from MGM, not the script, but they had the songs. That version, started by The Muny, played everywhere for decades.” In fact, it was so groundbreaking that it brought Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West in the movies to The Muny to play the same part years after the movie was released.

On Judy Garland’s birthday, we talk to Lorna Luft about the lasting memory of her iconic mother  “Mum was in New York and my sister and I were in LA. We had a well-meaning nanny that use to tell us our mum was gonna be on TV and then all of a sudden, there she was. But on screen, we see her but as a character. And then when Margaret Hamilton and the monkeys appeared on screen, Liza and I got so upset and started crying. Actually, my mother then called us from New York asking “how did you like the film?” and had two kids crying. [laughs] She was like “Oh, no! It’s only pretend”. I don’t think we were any different to any other kids in being scared by parts of the film so mum had the right answers to say.”

‘Wizard of Oz’ was last ballet Sara Powell wrote  In January 2016, Sara, with the help of her friend and assistant ballet instructor Camryn Blacka, wrote and choreographed the upcoming ballet, “The Wizard of Oz.” When Sara suddenly passed away on May 3, her parents and dance instructors made the difficult decision to not close her studio but to honor her by continuing the dance company and performing “The Wizard of Oz Ballet.”


Oz in the News 6.10.16

57577e883f14a.image‘Wonderful World of Oz’ kicks off free summer at the Figge  Willard Carroll can’t sit through showings of “The Wizard of Oz” anymore. He first watched it at age 4. It was 1959, and he remembers seeing the black-and-white movie while riding one of those toy rocking horses with metal springs in his living room. A few years later, his mother bought him Oz-themed hand puppets. That purchase rocketed a lifelong hunt for memorabilia related to Dorothy and Co. — he now has what he says is the largest Oz collection in existence. He has over 100,000 Oz-related items to his name, featuring movie posters, paintings, toys, costumes, dishware, an original flying monkey and others props from the props from MGM’s 1939 movie starring Judy Garland, a copy of the first edition of the 1900 book, plus items from productions like “Wicked” and “The Wiz.” “There’s no item in the Oz world that exists that I’m not aware of,” Carroll, who is also a Hollywood movie and TV producer, said.

Wizard of Oz Festival Underway in Grand Rapids  The Wizard of Oz Festival kicked off in Grand Rapids Thursday with a high tea. The town expects to see thousands over the three-day celebration. “People fly in from all over the world,” John Kelsch, the executive director of the Judy Garland Museum, said. There are always artifacts, characters and history to learn about at the museum, and Kelsch hopes this weekend shows a few more people what she was all about. “The community’s very proud that one of the world’s greatest stars from the most beloved movie in all the world was from Grand Rapids,” Kelsch said. There are events all evening Thursday and all day Friday and Saturday. “Every year is a little bit different. We’ve had the Munchkins here when they were still alive, we’ve had celebrities … all the old stars,” Kelsch said. This year, Saturday night marks the Minnesota premiere of “The Slippers,” a documentary about the missing fourth pair of original ruby slippers. A schedule of events can be found on the Judy Garland Museum website.

Oz in the News 6.5.16

captiveheartsofoz-imgSeven Seas Launches Original Manga Series Captive Hearts of Oz by Alice in the Country of… Artist Fujimaru  North American manga publisher Seven Seas Entertainment announced on Friday that it will release a new original manga series titled Captive Hearts of Oz, by Japanese manga creator Mamenosuke Fujimaru (Alice in the Country of Clover, Alice in the Country of Hearts). Japanese writer Ryo Maruya is collaborating on the story. The manga has not been previously released in Japan or elsewhere.Seven Seas publisher Jason DeAngelis explained, “Fujimaru is the defining artist for the Alice franchise, and as such, we reached out to her to create a new take on The Wizard of Oz world, with an otome game-style spin to the story.” The first oversized volume is slated for January 31, 2017.

Performers Reflect On How Judy Garland Set the Bar for Musical Theatre  Lillias White, Alice Ripley, Barrett Foa, Annie Golden, Nathan Lee Graham, Vivian Reed, Lady Rizo, Gay Marshall, Carol Lipnik, Rob Maitner, Gabrielle Stravelli, T. Oliver Reid and Nadia Quinn and Ahna O’Reilly with the Playbillies will headline the sixth annual Night Of A Thousand Judys, the Pride concert to benefit The Ali Forney Center presented by The Meeting* hosted by Justin Sayre. In anticipation of the show, its cast reflected on why Garland was so iconic, what set her apart from others and how she has shaped the state of musical theatre.

No place like Chittenango, say officials on casino’s one-year anniversary  The Yellow Brick Road Casino, 800 West Genesee St., celebrated its one-year anniversary Thursday with thanks to its employees, and the business and community partners, that have made it a source of economic and civic growth. The Oneida Nation has supported Oz-Stravaganza, the yearly celebration of L. Frank Baum and “The Wizard of Oz” book and movie, since 2007. That support includes giving $125,000 to update street lights in Chittenango. The casino reflects themes found in the book and has helped increase tourist traffic to the area. “They have done more than refurbish an old building,” All Things Oz Historical Foundation Trustee Marc Baum said. “The Oneida Nation has provided an anchor for the community. The increased tourism has attracted people to downtown Chittenango, and it’s benefitted the business here and the Oz-Stravaganza festival.”

Oz in the News 6.3.16

374464Wizard of Oz Festival in Grand Rapids, Minnesota Debuts “The Slippers” Film The Judy Garland Museum announced its lineup for the 2016 Wizard of Oz Festival today. The Festival, with events for persons of all ages, will run from Thursday, June 9th through Saturday, June 11th, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Tickets range from $15-$35 with many free events as well. Highlighting the Wizard of Oz Festival will be the Minnesota premiere of the new Tricon Film and Television documentary, The Slippers, a ninety minute film about the legendary ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. The special screening will take place at the Sawmill Inn in Grand Rapids, on Saturday, June 11th at 6:00 p.m. It will include a live music reception, 3-course meal, and an introduction by the film’s director, Morgan White. The Slippers will be shown a second time that night, outdoors on a Jumbo Screen on the Evergreen Terrace Lawn, adjacent to the Judy Garland Museum. This screening, at 9:30 p.m., will be free and open to the public.

‘Oh my’: 5 cool new things about Oz-Stravagana 2016  The 37th annual Oz-Stravaganza 2016, to be held today through Sunday at various venues in Chittenango, has several new features this year designed to please ‘Wizard of Oz” fans everywhere. The festival is designed to celebrate L. Frank Baum, who lived in Chittenango and wrote “The Wonderful World of Oz’ , on which the classic 1939 film was based. The festival has a large parade, costume contest, games, food, magic shows, balloon rides, fireworks and more.

Here are five highlights: 1.) Bronson Pinchot, a longtime actor best known for playing Balki Bartokomous on the popular ’80s sitcom “Perfect Strangers,” is the festival’s Grand Marshal 2.) This year’s festival highlights the “Wonderful Women of Oz’ with special guest Emma Ridley, who starred as princess ‘Ozma’, the queen of Oz, in Disney’s ‘Return to Oz.’ 3.) A collection of Judy Garland movie costumes and a restored gown will be on display at the All Things Oz Museum all weekend. 4.) For the first time, local actors and actresses will dress up as Oz characters and roam the festival posing for photographs. 5.) John Fricke, Oz historian, will give a presentation on Judy Garland. Fricke has written numerous books on Garland.