Geek Road Trip: Inside The Once-Forgotten Bootleg Wizard Of Oz Theme Park In The Appalachian Mountains We’re winding up a gravel road on Beech Mountain in North Carolina. It’s the back road to The Land of Oz, the one that customers aren’t allowed on — they have to go up the ski lift. It’s threatening rain and the Yellow Brick Road is calling as we get out of the car, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and get a bit lightheaded from the altitude. I’m here at a secluded, 1970s vintage Wizard of Oz theme park, and it’s already one of the most unique days of my life. Then it’s through a locked gate to be greeted by a broken Fountain of Youth. It’s indicative of the struggles this Wizard of Oz park has had, tucked up here in the mountains; it’s under construction, right now, but the disrepair is still obvious for the moment. My guide is Jana Greer, a manager here at The Land of Oz, and a former Dorothy performer for the park. She’s got ruby-sequined Vans on. Once Dorothy, always Dorothy. It’s immediately apparent that she and co-manager Sean Barrett are deeply passionate about it, cracks, bumps, and all.
TCT Presents The Frisch Marionette Company’s Production Of THE WIZARD OF OZ The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati is proud to present The Frisch Marionette Company performing everyone’s favorite story of Dorothy’s trip over the rainbow, THE WIZARD OF OZ. TCT’s Producing Artistic Director, Roderick Justice says, “”Frisch Marionettes is one of the most mesmerizing live theatrical performances I have ever witnessed. We are excited to share this experience with you and bring this story to life on our Showtime Stage on Red Bank.” In 1986, Kevin Frisch moved to New York City and joined The Puppetworks, Inc. of Brooklyn, New York. The next nine years were spent touring the New York Metropolitan area as well as performing in The Puppetworks’ permanent theatres in Brooklyn and Macy’s Herald Square. In 1995, Kevin established The Frisch Marionettes in Cincinnati as an exceptional entertainment and educational experience for children and adults alike, proclaiming the many virtues of this unusual art form. Kevin Frisch has built puppets, masks and costumes for The Central Park Zoo, New York Aquarium and The Puppetworks Inc. of New York. His puppets have been seen in People Magazine, SHOWTIMES’ “Twisted Puppet Theater”, the PBS Documentary “The American Puppet,” and onstage with The Cincinnati Opera as well as in the New York store windows of ‘Saks 5th Ave.’, ‘Bloomingdale’s’ and ‘Hermes New York’ and in the family film “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” featuring Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman. Kevin and his puppets have appeared in television commercials for Joseph Toyota of Cincinnati. Most recently, his puppets have appeared in the hit television shows “2 Broke Girls” on CBS and “Warehouse 13” on the Syfy channel. For the past five seasons, The Frisch Marionette Company has designed puppets for TCT’s MainStage productions at the Taft Theatre
Wizard of Oz fans gather for Oz Days in New London The annual Oz Days in New London proved the 1939 film, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” still has plenty of fans almost 80 years after it hit the big screen. People of all ages arrived at the Old School Event Center and the adjacent New London City Park for this year’s weekend celebration.
‘Oz’ fans attend festival dressed as favorite characters The Scarecrow handed a “Wizard of Oz”-themed prize pack to Destiney Buss, Austin Buss and Jesse Kinman, all of Loraine, Ill., as well as Lyle Gillham of Warsaw, Ill., for dressing as the Wicked Witch of the West and her winged monkey assistants. It’s the group’s second year in a row winning one of the festival’s costume contests, and it’s the third year in a row for Lyle, 2. He previously won when the festival was held in Clarksville, Mo., three years ago. The annual “Wizard of Oz” event lets fans of the movie and books dress like their favorite characters, meet a touring company of “Oz” characters, participate in fun activities and shop from a variety of vendors. Lyle’s mother, Orinda Gillham, sewed the group’s costumes just a couple days before the festival kicked off on Saturday. “We decided to do the witch and the monkeys because you don’t often see them at this festival,” Gillham said. “We’ll have to step up our game next year after having won a couple of times.”
PAC posts ‘Surrender Donald’ message on Beltway bridge Mad Dog PAC, a D.C.-based group that “solicits contributions from concerned citizens to fund billboards censuring President Trump, the GOP and the NRA,” magnetically stuck the letters to a rail overpass on the Capital Beltway near the Mormon temple in Kensington, Maryland. The message is a reference to a work of graffiti which graced the same bridge in the ’70s — back then, ‘Surrender Dorothy‘ likened the towering white spires of the nearby Mormon temple to the fabled Emerald City of Oz. Preservation Maryland linked the original graffiti to students from the Connelly School of the Holy Child in Potomac, who visited the building in 1974 and noticed its similarity to the shining city from the 1939 classic starring Judy Garland.
Somewhere Over the Go-Go One evening about four years ago, Lovail Long and his bunkmate, Salahuddin Mahdi, were working to develop a writing project about their hometown when the 1978 film The Wizcame on TV. “A light bulb came off, and within an hour, we started putting things together,” says Long. And that is how the new musical The Giz, a go-go adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, came to be. Excited by the possibilities, Long recalls, he called his old friend, Backyard Band leader Anwan “Big G” Glover, and with Big G’s encouragement, Long and Mahdi decided to move forward with the venture. The Giz will be performed on August 19 at the MGM National Harbor; Long plans to take it on the road and eventually mount a longer local run. Its ruby red slippers planted firmly in the DMV, The Giz celebrates go-go culture with a cast that features several of the music’s luminaries, including EU’s Gregory “Sugar Bear” Elliott as The Giz, a role originally written for Chuck Brown. Despite its title, The Giz was inspired more by Victor Fleming’s 1939 The Wizard of Ozfilm than by any productions of The Wiz. The new musical relates the adventure of 18-year-old Dottie, who lives in North Carolina with her maternal grandparents and yearns to attend Howard University. Dottie, who just might be Chuck Brown’s daughter, is taking out the trash when a well-timed storm whisks her away to Munchkin Land, right by the D.C. border of Prince George’s County.
It’s Popular! West End’s WICKED Will Play Its 5000th Performance Tonight WICKED, the “gravity-defying Wizard of Oz prequel” (Time Out) that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, will tonight (Thursday 9 August 2018) play its landmark 5000th performance at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre. “The hit musical with brains, heart and courage” (The Sunday Telegraph) will celebrate its 12th birthday next month and is already the 14th longest running West End show of all time. WICKED has now been seen by more than 9 million people in London alone and is the 7th longest running show currently playing in the West End (and the 5th longest running musical).
All yellow brick roads lead to Mapleton this Saturday for Oz Fest It’s not quite a yellow brick road, but the signs posted around the village of Mapleton and its surrounding thoroughfares will be followed in droves this Saturday — all leading to Butler Haynes Park, home of Oz Festival Illinois. The festival, which celebrates the whimsical adventures from the beloved 1939 motion picture, found solid footing after an explosion in attendance three years ago that vaulted the tiny celebration designed for kids into the collection of well-known Oz Fests across the country. The high-mark in attendance was 5,000 people in 2015 with the last two years decreasing to around 1,600 attendees, according to Angela Martiens, the superintendent of recreation for the Hollis Park District. That stability has allowed festival organizers to tweak the formula of the event — for example, there are fewer overall vendors than in 2016 but more that specifically cater to “The Wizard of Oz” fans.
Additional showing added to see ‘The Wizard of Oz’ in 3D on Friday at the Peoria Riverfront Museum In conjunction with Oz Festival Illinois on Saturday, the Peoria Riverfront Museum’s Giant Screen Theater will show “The Wizard of Oz” twice Friday night in 3D. The first screening at 6 p.m. is already sold out, but the 8:30 p.m. showtime still has plenty of tickets available. Hollis Park District director Jim Robertson will be at the theater to introduce the film, and a few special guests from the Mapleton festival might also be in attendance at the theater.
An Epic “Wizard of Oz” Adventure for the 21st Century Reader, in Toto’s Point of View A couple of days in Oz equals a year in Kansas where Uncle Henry is dying; If the Wizard will provide the cure, will Dorothy find her way home…and in time, to make a difference? Alongside Toto, you will ride in the front seat of a thrilling and emotional roller coaster throughout the magical Land of Oz…and beyond. This Wizard of Oz takeoff is a multidimensional plot-twister as told from Toto’s perspective that includes an updated original cast and a host of other wondrous quirky social misfits. With many surprises along the way, this complex and intriguing parody has as much tongue-in-cheek humor as it does original content, adventure, mystery, fantasy, and romance. For more information, or to acquire e-books (Spanish & English), high res maps, original illustrations, soft, and hard backs, follow Me to: Kickstarter Preview of Limited-Edition Hard Backs and Limited Edition Illustrations – author/artist to sign and number.
There’s a ‘Wizard of Oz’ convention coming to Pomona Click your heels together three times, because the 54th OzCon International will be held on the Cal Poly Pomona campus on Aug. 10-12. Special guests for OzCon will include writer Andy Mangels, who produced the bonus features for the film, “Journey Back to Oz,” and Christianna Rickard, the niece of Ray Bolger and author of the book, “A Legend in Straw.” The event will celebrate the 100th anniversary of L. Frank Baum’s “The Tin Woodman of Oz,” the 12th book in the classic series, as well as the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz” and author Rachel Cosgrove Payes. There will be panels, displays, an auction, vendors, opportunities for attendees to swap their collectibles, a costume contest and more.
Casting Announced For New American Folk Theatre’s SCRAPS New American Folk Theatre is pleased to announce casting for its world premiere of SCRAPS, the story of the Patchwork Girl of Oz, many years after her celebrated adventures in L. Frank Baum‘s Oz book series. Follow Scraps on her journey of self-discovery and her effort to shed herself of the patchwork quilt that she is made of in order to become a more “normal” person. Using the setting of America’s first fairy tale, this play explores racial and gender identity, and the myriad of people that make up the patchwork of this country. SCRAPS explores our capacity to love and our need to find intimacy through trust and friendship. Comments Co-Artistic Jamal Howard, “Scraps is such a special script that uses a familiar fantasy world – Oz – to dive into a woman’s journey of self discovery and love. Many of us know what it feels like to be different and Scraps has a chance to disguise herself and live out a fantasy she didn’t even realize she had. Her story of searching for truth and meaning in life is universal.” Written by Co-Artistic Director Anthony Whitaker* and directed by Co-Artistic Director Jamal Howard*, SCRAPS will play September 1 – 29, 2018 at The Den Theatre (2A), 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets go on sale Thursday, August 2, 2018 at www.newamericanfolktheatre.org or by calling (773) 697- 3830. The press opening is Tuesday, September 4 at 7:30 pm.