Monthly Archives: January 2018

Oz in the News 12.31.18

Kat Cunning Spins A Queer Narrative In Her First Music Video “I’m queer, and the song itself is — I mean, it’s loosely based on Wizard of Oz, which I’ve been obsessed with since I was as young as I can remember. And then, growing up, coming into my own and realizing I was gay, it was a funny realization that The Wizard of Oz is also actually such an emblem for the gay community. It’s ‘Over the Rainbow,’ Dorothy, Judy Garland — it’s like a poster story for gay people finding themselves. In a way, this song was a version of The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy doesn’t come home. Like that ending monologue, when she’s like, ‘And you were there, and you were there! But it couldn’t have been you, could you?’ I saw that as kind of a bummer. She literally goes back to a world made of black and white after you’ve seen — at the time — one of the first color films, ever. She has so many adventures, and for me that story is akin to finding your community of people and particularly a colorful queer world full of beautiful freaks. For me, that’s what the song is about — finding that family.”

Oz in the News 1.28.18

Born in Mansfield: Animals who smile – The Legacy of HR McBride and Frank VerBeck Frank VerBeck made a significant contribution to the illustration of classic American literature.  He was chosen by L. Frank Baum to illustrate some of his post-Wizard of Oz books like A New Wonderland and The Magical Monarch of Mo in 1900-1903; and he was the first artist to interpret the Just So stories of Rudyard Kipling when they originally appeared serially in Ladies’ Home Journal.

Recognized as one of the greatest comic animal artists made him a natural to do the pictures for early editions of the Uncle Remus stories.

Oz in the News 1.27.18

Book a Trip to See Literary Maps Should your travels bring you to Cambridge, Massachusetts, this spring, chart a path toward Harvard’s Houghton Library, where Landmarks: Maps as Literary Illustration opened last week. Curated by Peter X. Accardo, the exhibition showcases sixty literary maps that bring to life such imagined places as More’s Utopia and Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood. Included is Professor Wogglebug’s Map of the Marvelous Land of Oz, attributed to L. Frank Baum. From: L. Frank Baum, Tik-Tok of Oz (Chicago, 1914). “This first printed map of the Marvelous Land of Oz presents its four counties in their official colors, but reverses the position of Munchkin and Winkie Counties. The inconsistency is also reflected by the map’s compass points, where East unusually is to the West, and West is to the East.” Credit: Houghton Library, Typ 970.14.1955 – Presented in honor of Dennis C. Marnon, 2018.

Alumni bring Oz collection to Fort Hays State Fort Hays State University alumni Larry and Lyn Fenwick, Macksville, are sharing their collection of Wizard of Oz artifacts with the Hays community. The Fenwick Oz Collection is now available for viewing through Friday, March 16, on the main floor of Fort Hays State University’s Forsyth Library. The collection features rare and unique Wizard of Oz artifacts that match author L. Frank Baum’s vision for the land of Oz and that explore details of the well-loved Kansas story. Characters displayed in the collection are consistent with descriptions given in the book and honor Baum’s original ideas. An exhibit viewing and reception will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, in Forsyth Library. The Fenwicks will present briefly at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Garland in Word and Song Opens Tonight at the Willow Theatre When Judy Garland stepped out onto the stage at Carnegie Hall on April 23, 1961, the raucous standing ovation that greeted her was just the start of what has been called “the greatest night in show business history.” Actress/singer Jody Briskey portrays Garland and recreates that night’s iconic performance at The Willow Theatre at Sugar Sand Park in Boca Raton, Florida, January 26 – February 11, 2018.

Oz in the News 1.23.18

Conquering the Yellow Brick Road The Wizard of Oz might not be the first thing individuals relate to law enforcement, but three times a year, agency leaders gather in Quantico, Virginia, to follow — and conquer — the Yellow Brick Road. These 200 or more law enforcement executives are taking part of the FBI National Academy, an 11-week program that offers training in communication, leadership and fitness. The Yellow Brick Road, a 6.1-mile obstacle course, is a physical challenge that participants take part in at the conclusion of the program. In addition to academics, they also endured weekly physical challenges, all Wizard of Oz themed, which served as preparation for the Yellow Brick Road. The culminating obstacle course gets its name from the pathway of painted yellow rocks it follows. Individuals who successfully complete the course receive a yellow brick to signify the accomplishment. “That’s one of those cherished mementos I think a lot of national academy graduates before me display in their office,” said Hammac, whose brick rests atop a bookcase in his office. “It really is humbling to think back that I had a chance to be part of that.”

Oz in the News 1.20.18

Performance to celebrate brilliant composer who took fans ‘Over The Rainbow’ Arlen classics: “Over the Rainbow,” “Stormy Weather,” “Get Happy,” “The Man That Got Away,” “Paper Moon,” “Blues in the Night” “One For My Baby (And One More For the Road)” “That Old Black Magic” “I Love A Parade,” “Come Rain or Come Shine” and many more will be performed by an all-star cast of Villagers at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23 in Savannah Center. It’s called “Journey Over the Rainbow” and features: Carolyn Hoffman, Bill Davis, Billie Thatcher, Janice Swartz, The Skipper, Bonnie Williams, Frank Ardino, Phil Caltabellotta, Janet Maloney and Bill Krone. The Kevin O’Connell Band will provide the live musical backing for the event, which is directed by Barry Corlew and produced by Susan Feinberg and Carolyn Hoffman. Part of the proceeds will benefit The Jewish War Veterans Judith A Resnik Post 352 of the TriCounty Area, and Villagers for Veterans. The show is set during the time of the movie premier of the “Wizard of Oz.”

Oz in the News 1.17.18

Why Did The Good Place Hide So Many Wizard of Oz References in Last Week’s Episode? A decade ago, Lost fans went a little batty with Oz-related theorizing, guessing that the show would end with a twist ripped straight from L. Frank Baum and the Yellow Brick Road. Very few of those bets paid off. Still, because Schur is a Lost fan himself, and because The Good Place has made a habit of springing its own “everything you know is wrong” surprises, it wouldn’t be completely out of line to think that the Wizard of Oz parallels in “Best Self” are some kind of larger clue to where the show might be headed. Like: Will Eleanor Shellstrop wake up in the series finale and find herself back in Arizona, living around people who look like Janet, Chidi, Jason, Michael, and Tahani? While we break out the scratch paper to get busy postulating, here’s a handy reminder of just how Wizard of Oz–like “Best Self” actually is. Some of these references are overt, some more subtle, and some, to be honest, probably unintentional. They’re all collected from the vaguest Oz nod to the strongest.

UMS Adds Free Performance And Livestream To U.S. Premiere Of FK Alexander’s OVER THE RAINBOW The University Musical Society (UMS) of the University of Michigan will add a free performance of Glasgow-based performance artist FK Alexander’s (I Could Go On Singing) Over the Rainbow on Monday, January 29, 2018 at 7 pm. This special performance, which will last about an hour, will be streamed at and via Facebook Live at Tickets for the free, in-person experience will be distributed via lottery at UMS will also host a livestream viewing party at Light Box Performance Space in Detroit (8641 Linwood Street). Admission to the viewing party is free and open to the public. FK Alexander’s sonically immersive production of (I Could Go On Singing) Over the Rainbow will run from Friday, January 26 through Saturday, February 3 in the Stamps Gallery in downtown Ann Arbor (201 S. Division Street). The production receives its U.S. premiere with these performances and is not currently scheduled to be seen anywhere else in the country this year.

Oz in the News 1.5.18

Celebrities walk the yellow brick road It was the first red carpet event of the year, only it wasn’t red. Appropriately for the opening night of The Wizard Of Oz, producers organised a one-off yellow brick road carpet at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre. Stars of film, television and the stage flocked to the theatre to be among the first in town to see the musical production that is based on the 1939 movie classic with five new songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber. “It is colourful, it is loud, it is brash, it is wonderful, warm and funny,” producer John Frost said of the show. “It has got all of those things and I think it is an appropriate time for it to return to Sydney.” The production, which was first staged at the London Palladium in 2011, sees an all-star musical cast in lead roles. Samantha Dodemaide is Dorothy, while Lucy Durack plays Glinda the Good Witch and Jemma Rix is The Wicked Witch of the West.

Oz in the News 1.3.18

Sneak Peek of “The Wiz” Decadent Costumes and Interview with Designer Mathew LeFebvre Children’s Theatre Company and Penumbra Theatre are teaming up to bring The Wiz to the stage in all its spectacular decadence beginning January 23, 2018. The production, set in New York City, features original costume designs by Mathew LeFebvre that will be worn by our all-star cast. Read the interview below and take a look at these costume sketches to give you a glimpse of what awaits in January!  “Much of my visual research was from New York City and Harlem and we incorporated some ubiquitous elements into some of the designs. For example, the Lion wears Timberland inspired boots and a puffy vest, and the Scarecrow wears an old Adidas track suit. The Citizens of Oz are all based on residents of Harlem, but they will all be dressed in green.” Excited to see these designs come to life? Get your tickets to The Wiz today, running January 23 through March 18, 2018!