Oz in the News 9.2.16

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Second annual Midwest Wizard of Oz Fest in Tinley Park  “We really worked hard on making it a bigger and better festival,” said Kristina Verduyn, marketing and event director of Midwest Wizard of Oz Fest. “We included new things for everyone to enjoy. For instance, we added Emerald City Brew Beer Tent. We’ve got new entertainment. This year we have a mini production by New American Folk Theatre of ‘The Marvelous Land of Oz.’ “We also expanded ‘The Wizard of Oz’ throughout the festival. It’s not just centrally located on the Yellow Brick Road. We did improve the Yellow Brick Road. We also included scenes from other adaptations of ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ It’s not just the original motion picture.” Celebrating L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and other entertainment inspired by the 1900 children’s novel, Midwest Wizard of Oz Fest welcomes back three of its 2015 speakers. “John Fricke is a respected Oz historian and Oz author. He will be speaking on Judy Garland playing Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz’. He really knows what he’s talking about,” said Verduyn, of Crestwood. “Ryan Jay will be sharing red carpet interviews and backstage interviews of talking to the staff and cast of ‘The Wiz Live!’ “Mary Ellen St. Aubin is in her 90s. She’ll recall her husband, Parnell, and his role as a Munchkin soldier in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ film. She’s so important to the community. She has some great experiences through her husband.” New on the guest speakers list is Aaron Harburg, who discusses his great-grandfather E.Y. “Yip” Harburg, the lyricist for “The Wizard of Oz” movie and recipient of the 1939 Academy Award for best original song for “Over the Rainbow” with composer Harold Arlen.

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