Monthly Archives: October 2018

Oz in the News 10.31.18

We’re Off to See the Wizard! 7 Little Johnstons Family Unveils Wizard of Oz Halloween Costumes The 7 Little Johnstons family is not in Kansas anymore. Amber and Trent Johnston and their children Jonah, Anna, Elizabeth, Alex and Emma drew inspiration from The Wizard of Oz for their colorful Halloween costumes. Each family member took on a different role — including Dorothy in her blue gingham dress, the cowardly lion with an adorable mane, the tinman with his own special heart, the scarecrow with cute patches, Glinda with a regal wand, the Wicked Witch of the West in green face paint and the titular wizard in a top hat. The family even decked out the lawn with a decorative house plopped on the Wicked Witch of the East’s feet, a yellow brick road and the emerald gates of Oz.

Where Are the Original Cast Members of Broadway’s Wicked Now? For 15 years, Wicked has welcomed theatregoers to Oz. The musical spectacle features a star-studded cast singing Stephen Schwartz’s fantastical score, which has led to record-breaking grosses. (The Broadway production has broken the Gerswhin house record 24 times during its run.) A prequel to L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz based on the Gregory Maguire novel, the show focuses on the rivalry-turned-friendship between Elphaba (later known as the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda as classmates at Shiz University long before Dorothy’s arrival in Oz. Broadway has been changed for good since the opening of Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre in 2003, but what have the leading players of the show been up to since their departures?


Oz in the News 10.30.18

Theatre West and Artist Levi Ponce Celebrate Judy Garland in New Mural On Sunday, October 27th, Theatre West presented a beautiful new addition to the urban art landscape in Los Angeles with the unveiling of local artist Levi Ponce‘s latest mural featuring Judy Garland. Painted in full color and pictured with the Emerald City behind her, the portrait immortalizes one of the most beloved singers of all time in her signature role – Dorothy Gale from the classic 1939 MGM musical, THE WIZARD OF OZ. Drivers going south on the 101 freeway through the Cahuenga Pass will get a gorgeous view of the mural off to the right as they pass by the theater. Those familiar with the artist’s body of work will recognize his vivid images and unique style, one that has come to signify the very culture of Los Angeles.

Judy Garland’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ Ruby Red Rehearsal Slippers Coming to Auction on Invaluable “We have more than 250 items with impeccable provenance that represent many of the defining moments in entertainment history. We will, without question, make history on auction day,” said GWS Auctions founder Brigitte Kruse. “The Legends sale features some of the most memorable items ever worn, used or owned by the world’s biggest stars. It’s an important and fascinating chronicle of Hollywood and the music business and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to own a piece of history that touched us all,” Kruse added. On offer are the rare and unusual – movie costumes, personal clothing, photographs, signed contracts, stage worn costumes, jewelry, props, handwritten lyrics, musical instruments, awards, vehicles, ephemera, letters and more – even a burial plot in a cemetery of the stars. The Legends: Iconic Hollywood and Music Memorabilia auction is Nov. 3 at 10 p.m. PDT. Bids can be placed now or during the live auction on

Oz in the News 10.29.18

How The Wizard of Oz plays a key role in The Walking Dead In the most recent episode of The Walking Dead titled “Warning Signs”, Rick Grimes shares the story of The Wizard of Oz with Judith in a very heartwarming scene. It wasn’t a coincidence that Rick decided to read this particular story to Judith, there was definitely a greater reason. Looking back at the magical story of The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum there are so many great themes. One in particular that stands out is the theme of friendship. Now taking a look at the current story in The Walking Dead, we can find a very similar theme. It’s also so interesting that Rick is reading this story to Judith because just like Dorothy, Judith is living in a world that sort of is in a “constant tornado” watch. Rick wants Judith to have those magical and happy memories just like Dorothy had when she visited Oz. He knows that Judith will find her place in this world because she is protected by so many great friends and family.

Oz in the News 10.25.18

On its 40th anniversary, a look at how ‘The Wiz’ forever changed black culture Forty years after its original release, no film has uniquely defined black culture and shaped the framework of a musical genre quite like “The Wiz.” An adaptation of the groundbreaking Broadway musical — itself a retelling of L. Frank Baum’s classic 1900 children’s fantasy “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” that became the beloved Judy Garland movie — the Sidney Lumet-directed film had a rapturous soundtrack produced by Quincy Jones, a cast that included Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Lena Horne, Nipsey Russell, Mabel King and Richard Pryor and an aesthetic firmly rooted in black culture. For a generation of black Americans, this was the first time they saw people who spoke, sung and moved the way they did in a Broadway production and, later, a big-screen musical, and it has become a kind of rite of passage for the black community. Everyone remembers their first time experiencing “The Wiz.” If it’s the stage production, that likely came from performing it in high school or seeing a touring troupe tackle it, but the film is the most accessible entry into the all-black retelling of “The Wizard of Oz.” Many of us recall watching it with family during the holidays, huddled around the TV and singing the tunes.

Oz in the News 10.20.18

First Look at Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, Ariana Grande, and More in A Very Wicked Halloween Original Wicked stars Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth reunited to host and perform during NBC’s A Very Wicked Halloween: Celebrating 15 Years on Broadway. The special event will air October 29 (the eve of the musical juggernaut’s anniversary) at 10 PM. Performing alongside the pair of Tony winners will be pop star and Broadway alum Ariana Grande (a noted Wicked superfan), the a cappella group Pentatonix, the current Broadway cast of the musical (led by Jessica Vosk and Amanda Jane Cooper), Adam Lambert, and Ledisi.

Dorothy, I don’t think we’re in a movie anymore: How ‘Oz’ morphs in book, film, ballet Marilyn James of Kansas City missed the movie villain Miss Gulch. “I was a little sad to see she’s not in the book,” she said. “Such a great character in the movie.” Jane Albright, president of the International Wizard of Oz Club, pointed out, “And yet the movie doesn’t resolve her. Miss Gulch is still there at the end and she could still take Toto.” Albright, along with “Oz” book collector Lynn Beltz of Curlew, Wash., attends annual “Oz” events around the country and visits schools that are reading the book. “There are many more obstacles in the book than there are in the movie,” James said. “This made the book seem more like a fairy tale.”

Beyond The Frame: The Wizard of Oz While the difficult production of The Wizard of Oz (1939) would have four directors — including Richard Thorpe, George Cuckor, King Vidor and Victor Fleming (who would be finally credited) — MGM studio cinematographer Harold Rosson, ASC would see the production through from beginning to end, and earn an Academy Award nomination for his sumptuous color photography. The opening and closing credits, as well as the Kansas sequences, were filmed in black-and-white and tinted using a sepia-tone process.

Oz in the News 10.19.18

‘Sequin by sequin,’ it took over 200 hours to restore Dorothy’s ruby red slippers When people first see the pair of Ruby Slippers on display at the National Museum of American History, they’re often surprised to see how small they are. “It brings home the fact that Judy Garland was 16 years old when making the film. . . . It’s a very recognizable and understandable object,” Ryan Lintelman, curator of entertainment at the museum, told the Smithsonian Magazine. Garland played Dorothy Gale in “The Wizard of Oz,” and she wore a size 5 heel, according to a tweet from the museum. “Tiny, right?” the tweet says.

Oz in the News 10.14.18

Ruby slippers to return to view at National Museum of American History Beginning on Friday, October 19, from 12 – 3 p.m., the red shoes will be on display, along with the Scarecrow’s hat, which was worn by actor Ray Bolger in the 1939 film, as the museum celebrates the opening weekend of their Ruby Slippers gallery and eight other American Culture displays. The now sparkling red slippers have been in the museum’s Conversation Lab where they were stabilized and cleaned. The opening weekend celebration will continue on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 12 to 3 p.m. The event is free to the public. Treats will be available for purchase in the museum’s cafes. Click here for more information on this event