Oz in the News 7.8.16


Tearing Down the Wizard’s Curtain with Todrick Hall  Straight Outta Oz is nothing but edge, honed razor-sharp—a clean sever from the fluffier world of Hall’s past work. While Hall’s playful aesthetic—what he describes as a cross of “Katy Perry, Pee-wee Herman, and Willy Wonka”—still comes through in the Oz fantasy, each song bleeds as Hall confronts his first love with a man, his conservative family roots, his fallout with his mother, and the perils of navigating Hollywood as a black, gay man. “There just weren’t roles being written for someone like me,” he says. “I have no problem with stereotypical African-American roles or stereotypical gay roles. I’m not one of those guys who waves his flag and says gay guys can’t be hairdressers in TV shows. But we should be able to do more than that, and gay men should take on leading roles as leading men. We’re all still waiting for a wizard to come along and give us permission to go out and chase our dreams.” Hall quit waiting. He wrote and produced Straight Outta Oz in about six weeks. That impossibly tight schedule speaks both to Hall’s mammoth talent and the strong network of star power standing by him. The visual album includes performances from drag superstars Alaska, Willam, Kim Chi, Laganja Estranja and Mariah; fellow YouTube sensation Pentatonix; Glee alum Amber Riley, who plays Hall’s mother; RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Bob the Drag Queen; Perez Hilton; American Idol winner Jordin Sparks; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Classic Practical Effects That Still Hold Up Today  Even in the ’30s the field of visual effects had its masters. And A. Arnold “Buddy” Gillespie was the master who brought Oz to life on the big screen. The effect required a 35-foot-long muslin stocking, a farmhouse landscape built in miniature, a crane, wind machines, and finally a projection of the filmed material behind the actors.


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