For These Kansas City Puppeteers, Finding Something New In ‘Oz’ Means Toto Has To Go “Being in Kansas — holy crap — we just get inundated,” says Matt Hawkins, the puppet designer for Paul Mesner Puppet Theater’s production of The Wizard of Oz. “Every truck stop is full of Wizard of Oz.” So why would Mike Horner, the company’s artistic director, bother with yet another production of the story? “We look for titles people want to see and are familiar with. So, The Wizard of Oz, everybody knows it. And it lends itself well to adaption in puppetry,” Horner says. “When you can make a Tin Man that looks robotic and obviously isn’t some guy in a shiny suit, that’s part of the magic of puppetry.” Hawkins is a Kansas City paper sculptor who has created 3-D cardboard Star Wars puzzles for Costco and high-end art for Walt Disney World galleries. This was his first foray into puppet design. The Paul Mesner Puppet Theater’s The Wizard of Oz, June 20 through July 9 at Musical Theater Heritage at Crown Center, 2450 Grand Blvd, Suite 301, Kansas City, Missouri, 64108.
Georgia man plans “Wizard of Oz” themed proposal A Georgia couple is ecstatic about starting their journey down the Yellow Brick Road. On Friday, 30-year-old Brandon Cross pulled off the proposal of a lifetime. Well, at least it was to his now fiancé, 26-year-old Tiffany Woodard. And Cross knew he had to make his proposal special, so he decided to take a trip to Woodard’s favorite Hollywood hangout, the Land of Oz. “I was on Facebook and saw the ad for Land of Oz and it clicked,” he said. “I remembered her telling me that the “Wizard of Oz” was her favorite movie, and it just so happened that there were three tickets left for June 16. I knew I had to have them.” So, Cross bought the tickets, dressed up like the Tin Man and gave his Dorothy his heart. “I was beyond nervous, not only was rain in the forecast but upon arriving, I found out I was going to be the Tin Man and singing in front of a group of strangers,” he said. “We went through the tour and once we arrived at the wizard he asked me if I would like to give my heart to anyone. Then I called up Tiffany, the only person I could ever imagine holding my heart again.” With a huge smile and a few tears, Tiffany said “yes.”
A Visit to Wamego, Kansas, the Center of the Wizard of Oz Universe These fantastical items are on permanent loan from Friar Johnpaul Cafiero, a Franciscan priest based in Chicago whose family has been collecting related items for decades. You’ll find W.W. Denslow’s color illustrations from the first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, as well as translations of the original story into other languages—including mock German (Der Wizard in Ozzenland). The rooms are packed with memorabilia from the 1939 film, including miniature flying monkeys, character masks, and cast photos and trivia. Also among the treasures is a dress worn by Judy Garland in the movie (did you know her shirt was pink, not white?) and a pair of ruby slippers that were covered with Swarovski crystals by artist Jeffery Merrell in commemoration of the musical’s 50th anniversary.
Judy Garland enshrined in Hollywood mausoleum Judy Garland has been laid to rest in a mausoleum named for her at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. A spokeswoman for Garland’s estate says her family and friends held a private memorial service for the actress on Saturday, which would have been Garland’s 95th birthday. She was buried in the Judy Garland Pavilion. Garland’s children, Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft and Joe Luft, wanted to bring their mother’s remains “home to Hollywood” from her original burial site at New York’s Ferncliff Cemetery, publicist Victoria Varela said. They attended the service, along with Garland’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In a statement released to The Associated Press, they offered gratitude to their mother’s “millions of fans around the world for their constant love and support.”
Fanciful garden of ‘ahhhs’ An avid gardener and garden writer, Mackey sought to instill a love for gardening in her two young children, daughter Annie Rose and son Jacques, all those years ago. Thanks to Annie Rose’s enchantment with Baum’s Oz books written in the early 1900s, a plan took shape for her little patch of wonder back in 1995. Baum wrote 14 books, including the most well-known, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” chronicling Dorothy’s adventures with the Scarecrow, the Tinman and the Lion. “We read all the Oz books,” says Mackey, whose personal favorite was “Glinda of Oz.” “(Annie’s) dad read them aloud to her. He does all the best voices. He was the best reader in the family.” It’s no wonder Annie liked the books, Mackey reflects when describing her daughter’s strong sense of independence. “They’re full of really strong female characters. We’re talking the 1900s … everybody else is a princess getting saved. But not these women. They’re remarkable.” There was plenty of territory for Annie Rose to draw from, but when the shovels hit the dirt, she chose the simple, classic circle-in-a-square garden design, loosely following an illustrated map of Oz and its surroundings first published as endpapers in one of the books, “Tik-Tok of Oz.”
Wizard of Oz Festival Gets Underway in Grand Rapids The 42nd annual Wizard of Oz Festival got underway in Grand Rapids on Thursday. Festivities began with a tea party and live music inside Judy Garland’s historic childhood home. Friday night, The Wizard of Oz will play outside on a jumbo screen on the Evergreen Terrace lawn next to the museum. Organizers say this event brings in people from across the country each year to remember Garland’s legacy and celebrate the timeless film. “France has the Mona Lisa, America has The Wizard of Oz,” says John Kelsch, director of the Judy Garland Museum. “It’s so much a part of our culture. It’s an American masterpiece.” The Emerald City Fest on Saturday will feature free carriage rides and games for kids. There are also some new exhibits at the museum featuring the ruby red slippers and the munchkins.
‘Over the Rainbow’: 10 things to know about classic American song It has been a classic in the Great American Songbook from the moment it was released on August 15, 1939. Today, thanks to pop star Ariana Grande, “Over the Rainbow” will forever be linked to the Manchester terrorist attack. Grande, whose concert on May 22 was followed by the deadly bombing which so far has claimed nearly two dozen lives, came back to Manchester this week to perform a benefit concert. And she built the show around the dreamy Somewhere, releasing the “Wizard of Oz” cover song as a single with all proceeds going to the victims. The song she chose to honor those who died and were injured in the bombing is a dazzling bit of emotion-laden songwriting. Here are some things Ariana Grande fans may not know about this true American beauty.
Review: Judy!, at Arts Theatre Each Judy stays in her time zone but all three will often share a number. Though they don’t set out to imitate Judy, some numbers do sound amazingly like her and all echo her spirit and vitality. The proscenium staging turns them more noticeably into performance numbers than in the earlier stagings and they are delivered with powerful emotion and theatrical panache.
Nostalgia with Craig Bennett – Judy Garland https://omny.fm/shows/george-and-paul/nostalgia-with-craig-bennett-judy-garland/embed?style=artwork
Landmark with Judy Garland History Marks 100 A Grand Rapids building turned 100 this year. It’s a building many people driving through Grand Rapids pass every day, but to millions around the world, it is a special landmark because it was here that two and a half year-old “Fanny” Gumm made her legendary debut. It was the beginning of a career that would one day take her around the world, making her one of the most loved performers of all time. The building where all this took place is 212 S. Pokegama Ave. Although today it is used as an office building, in April of 1917, it opened to the public with great fanfare as a motion picture theatre, The New Grand. For months the Grand Rapids Herald Review and the Itasca County Independent had been reporting on the building’s progress. Jesse Madson of Hibbing, named as the builder, was financing the construction. Chaulberg and Baum were the contractors. Elmer Madson of Grand Rapids (Jesse’s brother) supervised labor on the foundation and basement, and James Heffron of Duluth supervised the building of the walls, which were constructed with four layers of bricks.
Ariana Grande’s Mom on her Daughter’s Conviction and the Emotional Story Behind ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ “I didn’t know she was going to sing it,” Joan Grande tells Variety, explaining that the song had special significance for the family. “It’s an emotional story: my father passed away two and half years ago, and that was the song she sang for him after he passed.” Though Grande had sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as a child, and in private throughout the years, the song had never been part of her stage show as a pop singer. So to debut it at such an emotional show had even more significance.
Australia is Searching for the Newest Dorothy for THE WIZARD OF OZ Tour The world’s favourite musical The Wizard of Oz is returning for an Australian tour later this year, starring Anthony Warlow as The Wizard and Professor Marvel, Lucy Durack as Glinda the Good Witch and Jemma Rix as The Wicked Witch of the West. But who will wear the Ruby Slippers of Dorothy? Producers John Frost and SuzAnne Jones are looking for a new young star to take on the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, with auditions later this month. Applications for auditions are now open and close on 11 June – see details at the website wizardofozthemusical.com/auditions
Seth Sikes on why Judy Garland is (and will forever be) the greatest star of all “It’s rather simple – she was the greatest entertainer of all time. When her throat opens up to sing, the world stands still. It’s not really a talent you have to explain to people, they just hear it, they see her, and they usually say, ‘Oh my god.’ I don’t think that’s ever going to change since we have so much footage and recordings. As long as there are humans she will continue to be loved, because somehow all of humanity lived in that voice.”
If he only had a ride: Wizard of Oz’s Tin Man charged with DWI, Police say A Cortland man dressed up as the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated Sunday. Nicholas E. Sherman, 31, was charged by New York state police with aggravated DWI. Sherman told police he was hired to portray a “Wizard of Oz” character for a business during the village of Chittenango’s OzStravaganza, which was held over the weekend. He still had his makeup on for the role when he was arrested. Festival organizers said he was not an “official” Oz cast member.