Monthly Archives: September 2017

Oz in the News 9.28.17

A terrifying Halloween event based on The Wizard of Oz is taking place in a Welsh derelict chapel The teams’ aim is to escape terrors from the 1939 Judy Garland film featuring the Lion, Witch, Tin Man, Scarecrow, Munchkins, winged monkeys and more, all set in a universe where things have gone terribly wrong. It’s the brainchild of Toby Brandon, creative director of Twins of Evil Attractions, who said: “You think of the word ‘Oz’ and you think of The Wizard of Oz. Regardless of where you are from or how old you are. It’s probably one of biggest films in the world, so I thought ‘how can I take it and really twist it?’ Toby was coy on what exactly it is, but said there will be a “world record” involved in the scary event.

Five things you didn’t know about “Over the Rainbow”  #3 – Less than a year after The Wizard of Oz premiered, MGM used the song again in another film, the social comedy The Philadelphia Story. Katherine Hepburn, playing a wealthy socialite on the eve of her wedding, and James Stewart, a tabloid reporter sent to get a scoop on the event, share a drunken midnight swim at her family estate. As he carries her back to the house, Stewart sings a garbled version of the song:“Some day over the rainbow,” he croons, much to the delight of a groggy Hepburn.

Cast Announced For Wicked 2018 Uk & Ireland Tour Audiences across the country can look forward to seeing a cast including the likes of Amy Ross (Elphaba) and Helen Woolf (Glinda) Defying Gravity as the magnificent musical Wicked tours in 2018. Ross, who most recently starred as in fellow West End hits Kinky Boots (as Nicola) and Sunny Afternoon (playing Joyce), and Woolf (Wicked, West End), will be joined by the likes of Steven Pinder (The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond), Kim Ismay (Madame Morrible), Emily Shaw (Nessarose), Iddon Jones (Boq) and Nikki Bentley (Standby for Elphaba), along with the previously announced Aaron Sidwell (Fiyero), in leading the cast of the forthcoming return engagement of Wicked’s UK & Ireland Tour in 2018.

Oz in the News 9.22.17

Why ‘Wicked’ Is A Sneaky Story That Celebrates A Free Society I was quite suspicious of it going in, because I sensed, from reading reviews, that it had a political slant. And the first few moments of the performance were a bit uncomfortable. However, I soon realized that there is a blue-pill way of viewing “Wicked.” That’s what most people will come away with, and probably what the creators of the musical intended. Broadway, and the theater community in general, is notoriously friendly to progressive, feminist, LGBT themes. However, there is a red-pill way to view “Wicked,” and once you start viewing it this way, you can’t un-see it. Generally speaking, works of art should be apolitical mirrors that show us distilled deeper truth than we usually see in daily life. So it is with “Wicked.”

Oz in the News 9.21.17

Ohio Wizard of Oz Festival September 22-24, 2017 Macedonia, Ohio (PRNewsfoto/Ohio Wizard of Oz Festival)

Ohio Wizard of Oz Festival September 22-24, 2017 Macedonia, Ohio The 1900 Book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is coming to life this Friday, September 22nd thru Sunday, September 24th in Longwood Park, Macedonia, Ohio. Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, Glinda, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Toto too will be in Longwood Park, Macedonia, Ohio to take pictures with all their fans, also take you down the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City! Some of the other exciting events planned are: 

  • Emerald City Gala-At the Bertram Inn & Conference Center 600 N. Aurora Rd., Ohio 44202 this event will include: Dinner, Entertainment, Silent Auction, and meet fellow Oz fans & collectors. This is at the Bertram Inn Friday, September 22, 2017 at 6PM
  • World Record attempt to have the largest gathering of people dressed as characters from the Wizard of Oz current record is 1,093 people. This will be at Longwood Park, Macedonia, Ohio on Saturday, September 23, 2017starting at 1PM
  • OZ & Judy Garland Expo-Silent Auction, Wizard of Oz & Judy Garland Memorabilia, Oz Display and More!
  • Breakfast with Dorothy & Friends at the Bertram Inn Sunday, September 24, 2017 starting at 9AM
  • Wonderful Wizard of Oz Costume Contests for Children & Adults
  • “Wizard of Oz” Marionette show by renowned Stevens Puppets-
  • Munchkin Land Carnival with Games, Crafts Stations, Painting Parties, etc.
  • Various Entertainment-Magicians, Musicians, Face Painters, etc.

Oz in the News 9.16.17

Toy-Lines Interviews Wizard of Oz Collector Walter Krueger When it comes to collecting The Wizard of Oz there’s no other Royal Historian of Oz collectibles than Walter Krueger. Toy-Lines recently interviewed the Royal Historian on his “Ozsession” as he calls it, his collection & how he’d like to one day turn it into a museum. “People are taking (sic) back with a flood of memories from childhood. There’s not a single person that can look at any of this and not remember some sort of memory connected to the story. The Wizard of Oz is touched so many people and so many generations it’s very easily relatable and understandable why I love it so much. Mainly people are also very intrigued and surprised to know how much has been made over the years! It definitely is a metaphor for life as I said, we are sometimes sucked up in a whirlwind of life and taken to new grounds and meet new people and along the way down the yellow back road we search for our dreams and our hopes and helping those around us realize theirs. We all have a yellow brick road we all want to go to the emerald city. It’s realizing it’s going to take each other to get there.”

Oz in the News 9.14.17

UW Lecture Series Returns to Sheridan Sept. 23 The University of Wyoming’s popular one-day free public lecture series, featuring diverse topics from UW professors and Sheridan College’s president, will return to Sheridan Saturday, Sept. 23. Saturday U — the half day of college lectures and discussion — will be at Sheridan College’s Whitney Academic Center. The program begins with coffee and donuts at 8:30 a.m., followed by welcoming remarks at 8:50 a.m. The guest lectures begin at 9 a.m with “Marketing the Wonderful Wizard of Oz: L. Frank Baum and Ozmania,” by Susan Aronstein, English professor. “Sold-out performances! Standing room only! Box office records broken! Touring companies bringing shows to eager fans across the country. No, we’re not describing ‘Wicked,’ the hit musical still on Broadway after 14 years, nor Judy Garland’s filmed trip down the yellow brick road in Technicolor ruby slippers,” Aronstein says, describing her lecture. “No, Ozmania first swept the country in 1903. The show was ‘The Wizard of Oz’ adapted from L. Frank Baum’s bestselling children’s book, ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.’” Her talk explores the original Oz craze and how the marketing wizard L. Frank Baum put Oz into America’s imagination, building his book into sequels, spin-offs and comics, and also as a traveling extravaganza and silent films. For more information about Saturday U, visit the website at

Oz in the News 9.13.17

‘Wizard of Oz’ garden raises money for charities The self-proclaimed Owner of the Land of Oz, Dennis Denenberg, uses his backyard garden to raise money for local charities. His Oz, built within his home garden in Manheim Township, features Toto’s house and the Emerald City built out of PVC pipe. Dennis says his garden in full bloom is a sight for anyone to see, regardless of your opinions of the Wizard of Oz. He boasts a one-acre garden, that he says is the most photographed private home and garden in the county. The inside of his home is also themed with an impressive collection of Wizard of Oz memorabilia and Art Deco pieces. His reasons for showing off the garden lie deeper than the roots of his trees. Dennis’ sister died of breast cancer after an 18-year battle. He has a specially designed “Pink Garden” within his backyard in her honor. He opens up the garden and his home for free to any charity organization that would like to use the space for fundraisers, retreats, or benefits. His favorite charity, Diana’s Dreamers, a nonprofit dedicated to his sister also benefits from the garden. Dennis offers both home and garden tours to see his blooms and movie memento collection inside his home. To contact Dennis for a home and garden tour, e-mail him at

Oz in the News 9.11.17

‘Oz’-some birthday For his 36th birthday, J. Basil Dannebohm is bringing Oz to Kansas, and he doesn’t even need a tornado. The Salina resident and former member of the Kansas Legislature will be hosting a “Wizard of Oz” themed birthday reception today at his east Salina home, where he has invited a variety of people to celebrate what he called the diversity and humanity championed by the book and movie. “I take pride that all kinds of guests are welcome at this and at every other reception I host,” he said. “Rich, poor, gay, straight, black, white, Republican, Democrat — at these gatherings, our differences are set aside and our humanity is celebrated.” Dannebohm sees “The Wizard of Oz” not only as a timeless fantasy adventure for children, but a timely story for adults — one that embraces inclusiveness, tolerance and compassion, attributes sorely lacking in today’s polarized social and political climate. “If Baum taught us anything from this work, it’s that separately brains, a heart and courage are powerful tools,” he said. “However, when used for the good of others on life’s journey, they become phenomenal building blocks of friendship and solidarity.”

Michael Morpurgo: ‘I had to turn into a dog and see the world in Toto’s way’  I know now, after decades of doing it, why I return time and again to the task of retelling the great tales, ancient and less ancient. It is a kind of recharging of a storymaker’s battery. Go back to the old masters, not to copy as an art student might copy a Rembrandt, but to rediscover the magic of a story that has stood the test of time, that is still read and loved, perhaps 2,000 years after it was written. Go back to a legend or a tale or a great popular classic that has been superseded by a film, or several films, so that the original story or poem has been all but forgotten.

Oz in the News 9.8.17

We’ve been to see the West End’s new Wicked to see whether its worth you getting a ticket If you’ve always wanted to see Wicked, have heard friends or family rave about it, or you’re just aware of Wicked’s reputation and its 100+ major international awards, then you should definitely get a ticket to see this cast who have taken to their roles like ducks to water. And their performances are so fresh and appealing that Wicked aficionados won’t want to miss another trip to the theatre either.

Meet The New West End Cast Of WICKED! Hockley is proud to be carrying on a grand tradition of Welsh Wizards, following in the footsteps of Des Barrit and Martyn Ellis, both of whom he’d seen in the show. So was the Wizard of Oz in fact from the Valleys? Hockley laughs: “Maybe there’s something that Gregory Maguire‘s not telling us in the book!”

10 QUESTIONS WITH THE NEW CAST OF WICKED At the show’s recent media night, we put the new Wicked London cast of 2017/18 to the test, including Alice Fearn (Elphaba), Sophie Evans (Glinda), Bradley Jaden (Fiyero), Melanie La Barrie (Madame Morrible) and Andy Hockley (The Wizard).

WWOZ General Manager in Break Thru Magazine: “The Wizardess of ‘OZ” One of the little-known facts about local public radio station WWOZ is what the station’s call letters stand for. Its founders chose an abbreviation for the “Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” from the namesake book and feature film. After 35 years of making her own kind of magic happen at New Orleans’ leading public television station, Beth Arroyo Utterback continues her magical journey at the helm of the city’s leading public broadcast outlet. As the newly appointed general manager of WWOZ (90.7 FM), she happily agrees that, like Judy Garland in the movie, “’There’s no place like home.’ That’s what it feels like to me.”


Oz in the News 9.6.17

Wizard of Ass! When Dorothy was swept off to Oz with a DONKEY in the 1910 silent movie, as footage reveals differences with the Judy Garland version of 1939 Fans of the Wizard of Oz may have become accustomed to seeing Dorothy with her trusty sidekick Toto at her side, but the original had two donkeys cast. Footage showing a century-old version of the iconic film has reemerged this week, giving a glimpse into the original stage play which made the heart-warming tale world famous. The film, which dates back to 1910, shows the classic tale played out over various scenes, from protagonist Dorothy being carried away by a cyclone to the Wizard of Oz taking off in his hot air balloon at the end of the film. But the strangest difference is the two asses that follow the main character around throughout the movie.

Judy Garland’s ‘I Can’t Give You Anything But Love’ Out in 2018 on Jasmine Records Based on studio, radio and live recordings made between 1939 and 1961, the anthology, featuring songs composed by many of the great songwriters of the Great American Songbook, captures Garland’s voice in youth, as a young lady, and as the mature artist. At 78 minutes 35 seconds, the single-CD 24-track set, which will include a live “Why Was I Born?” (Oscar Hammerstein II, Jerome Kern) that was recorded in 1946 and is new to CD, has been produced, compiled and annotated by the award-winning Garland historian Lawrence Schulman, who has been responsible for numerous CD sets devoted to Garland over the past 24 years, and has also written about her extensively for the ARSC Journal and other publications.

Oz in the News 9.2.17

Hisada: Led By the Yellow Bricks CD review – a powerful evocation of childhood Led By the Yellow Bricks – her seven-movement suite for an instrumental sextet of two strings, two woodwind, piano and percussion, which was first performed by the Ensemble für Neue Musik Zurich last year – was inspired by Frank Baum’s children’s classic The Wizard of Oz. Hisada’s work does not attempt to tell “seven consecutive stories”, she insists, nor to portray the events in Baum’s book. It is more an attempt to suggest the childhood memories that reading the book evoked, which her music does in gestures of increasing power. Tiny ideas become kernels for much larger ones. The gigantic climaxes she extracts from the ensemble are balanced against textures and solos of much quieter intensity and interrupted a couple of times by a child’s voice. It is approachable and a bit mysterious.

Wicked Extends Booking in the West End Through December 2018 Wicked, the West End musical phenomenon that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, has just announced its 24th extension with 500,000 new tickets now released for performances until Saturday 1 December 2018. The “hugely popular show” (The Times) celebrates its 11th birthday on 27 September 2017 at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, where it is already the 16th longest running show in West End theatre history.