Monthly Archives: November 2018

Oz in the News 11.30.18

Before Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, there was Judy Garland. In a new book, her star is reborn “It was real emotional because it was at the Shrine and my mom’s first scene in her version was at the Shrine. Then Bradley Cooper got up and said (from the stage), “In 1954, Judy Garland sat in this seat to watch ‘A Star Is Born,’ and now, Lady Gaga.” I was so thrilled. Then the movie starts and she sings the first eight bars of “Over the Rainbow.” I was so taken aback and so grateful. Then I met her and she was so gracious. She’s incredibly smart, she’s funny, she’s grounded. I’m one of her biggest fans. And Bradley Cooper was generous and kind and a gentleman. I loved his version. They’ve taken one of the greatest love stories ever told and not only brought it to two or three generations who may not have seen the others, but they’ve kept the quality of the story. I’ve always said I think the reason “A Star Is Born” keeps getting told is because it’s not about Hollywood. It’s about human nature and love, and watching someone’s star rise and watching someone’s star fall. But, in the end it’s about someone who triumphs.”

This queer film festival reveals the asexuality allegory in The Wizard of Oz This year’s programming for Scottish Queer International Film Festival couldn’t be more diverse and involves a retelling of The Wizard of Oz. Kicking off on 5 December, the five-day festival highlights include LGBTI films from all over the world, challenging mainstream perspectives. The Wizard of Oz, particularly, questions the story seen as Dorothy’s lesbian awakening. The festival’s reimagining of the popular children book by L. Frank Baum and the even more popular 1939 movie adaptation starring Judy Garland, in fact, revolves around asexuality. ‘We have always wanted to do an event around asexuality at SQIFF,’ festival programmer Helen Wright told Gay Star News. They explained that they came across this asexuality theory while talking to a member of the asexual community. Wright researched further and found ‘an asexual reading of The Wizard of Oz online, posted on The Asexual Visibility & Education Network in the US by a user called Spoofmaster.’ ‘The reading riffs off a film academic called Alexander Doty’s interpretation of The Wizard of Oz as a lesbian story, with the Wicked Witch of the West being a butch lesbian and Glinda the good witch being the femme. Dorothy is caught between them discovering her lesbian sexuality during her adventure to Oz.’

Oz in the News 11.24.18

Matt Murray pens ‘Toto-ly Twistered’ Toronto musical Matt Murray remembers sitting in the audience at the Elgin Theatre as a Sarnia teenager to watch a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. All these years later, he’s a playwright in Toronto where The Wizard of Oz, a Toto-ly Twistered Family Musical, is being brought to life from Nov. 30 to Jan. 5 at the historic Theatre. “My 14 or 15-year-old self is pretty elated to be having the opportunity to write the show that is now on that stage,” Murray said. Technical rehearsals began this week for the second Ross Petty Productions holiday family musical Murray has worked on. This year’s version of Wizard of Oz is set in the present day. “I won’t give too much more away about it, but it’s definitely not your Judy Garland Wizard of Oz,” Murray said. This year’s version of Wizard of Oz is set in the present day. “I won’t give too much more away about it, but it’s definitely not your Judy Garland Wizard of Oz,” Murray said. Showtime and ticket information about Wizard of Oz at the Elgin Theatre can be found online at www.rosspetty.com.

Kermit the Frog on Why It’s Not That Easy Being Green in the Emerald City “The Scarecrow is a tough role if you’re allergic to hay. I sneezed between every take. But once I got a brain, I was able to figure out where to buy hay fever medicine. As for playing the Wizard, that’s an extremely difficult role for a frog. Y’see, Emerald City is green, so I keep blending in with the decor. But don’t worry, we fixed that. I promise to be completely visible when you come see our show.”

Vintage Sundays Review: The Wizard of Oz The Wizard of Oz more than lives up to its iconic reputation, and despite its famously troubled production, which saw no fewer than four different directors, it still manages to deliver a blissful, vivid trip into the magical world of Oz. However, the film is more than just an escapist sugar rush. While Dorothy may conclude that ‘There’s no place like home’ on her return to black and white Kansas, there is an undeniably bitter twinge as she leaves behind the glorious, absurd Oz for Kansas and the nice but dull Aunt Em. This film is often seen as an analogy for growing up, and while Dorothy, and the audience, must eventually face the grown-up world of Kansas, we are still given the rare chance to experience the world of Oz in uncynical, childlike awe. The Wizard of Oz certainly isn’t perfect, it is occasionally stilted, saccharine, and dated, but in spite of these flaws it is still absolutely worth watching, and returning to, just to be swept up in its wide-eyed, joyful sense of wonder.

 

 

Oz in the News 11.23.18

Marissa Jaret Winokur Channels Good Witch in ‘Wonderful Winter of Oz’ Since her breakout Tony-winning debut on Broadway in “Hairspray” in 2002, Marissa Jaret Winokur has appeared in movies (“Fever Pitch”), TV series (“Retired at 35,” “Melissa & Joey,” “Playing House”), competed on “Dancing With the Stars” and won “Celebrity Big Brother.” Now she’s returning to the musical theater stage as the good witch Glinda in “The Wonderful Winter of Oz,” a Lythgoe Family Panto production opening Dec. 15 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Blending Frank Baum’s story and characters from “The Wizard of Oz” with well-known modern pop songs, the holiday show stars Mackenzie Ziegler (“Dance Moms,” “Dancing With the Stars: Juniors”) as Dorothy and Kermit the Frog as the Wizard. Growing up watching “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Muppet Show” on TV, Winokur didn’t hesitate when she got the offer to participate. “We were all star-struck by Kermit the Frog at the photo shoot. Getting to sing with Kermit is so exciting for me,” she said. And she’s just as thrilled to don her extravagant Glinda gear. “The costumes are amazing. They come from London,” she said. “They’ve spared no expense.”

Oz in the News 11.21.18

The Wiz Was So Much More Than a Failed Wizard of Oz BET recently televised The Wiz, and I indulged in a few jazzy minutes. It’s still special when I come across it, even though I have the DVD and can watch it whenever the desire takes hold. There’s still fresh joy in it; seeing the majestic Lena Horne descend from on high as Glinda the Good Witch will always make me feel like an awestruck 7-year-old. Play Stephanie Mills’ signature stage version or Diana Ross’ powerhouse rendition of “Home,” the epic ballad about a safe, soft place where there’s love overflowing, and the inside of my chest swells. Sometimes I even get teary—it reminds me, lyrically and personally, of my mama and my grandmother. I see the whole movie now in a way I couldn’t when I was a child. I still dance, I still sing, but I’m proud of the beauty of Blackness and the legacy of a movie that, like the people who created it, can’t help but be great.

Oz in the News 11.20.18

UW Professors Examine Long Marketing Life of the ‘Oz’ Myth As the three UW professors describe it, the book was born “on a balmy summer night in New York City in 2013.” They were passing the famed Gershwin Theatre late in the evening when a rush of theater patrons came out the front doors, excitedly discussing the stage production of “Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz.” They noticed some were wearing tiaras, others dressed in green, and they even spotted a few sporting ruby red slippers. That got them thinking: How has Oz resonated so well through generations, and how many times can different versions of Baum’s original book be told through different platforms? The three professors’ book examines the long life of the Oz myth through the marketing machinery and the consumption patterns that have made its sustainability possible. Drawing on the fields of marketing, literary and cultural studies, and remediation theory, the authors examine key adaptations of Baum’s original publication. “For me, the biggest surprise was Baum himself. He wasn’t the impractical ‘dreamer of Oz’ we see in television movies,” Aronstein says. “Rather, he was an astute and savvy pioneer in the newly professionalized marketing field, and he used his experience to market and brand ‘Oz.’”

Oz in the News 11.15.18

There’s no place like home for ‘Ruby Slippers’ production “Ruby Slippers,” a creative collaboration through the University of Minnesota Theatre Arts and Dance Department, explores what happened the night Judy Garland’s ruby slippers were stolen from a museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The production will run Nov. 19 and 20. “I was trying to find a new story to develop and I did a Google search of the three … oddest things … that have happened [in Minnesota], and up pops this article about these ruby slippers that were stolen from the Judy Garland museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota in 2005,” said Luverne Seifert, the director of the show and a senior teaching specialist in the theatre arts and dance department. And so the idea for “Ruby Slippers” was born. The collaborators had six weeks to write the show and then six weeks to stage it. They drew heavily from the film “The Wizard of Oz,” as well as the TV series “Fargo” because of its focus on mystery and crime in Minnesota. They also tried to capture the grief of the community in Grand Rapids, like dialogue from an email written by a woman in Grand Rapids who was angry over the stolen slippers.

Oz in the News 11.9.18

‘Wizard of Oz’ draft scripts head for auction block A collection of draft scripts for “The Wizard of Oz” and other material from the archives of the 1939 film are going up for auction in December and could fetch up to $1.2 million. Los Angeles auctioneers Profiles in History said on Thursday four handwritten draft screenplays by Noel Langley were being sold. Langley, who died in 1980, was one of about a dozen screenwriters who worked on the big screen adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s children’s book that catapulted Judy Garland to fame and became an enduring movie classic. Langley’s first three original drafts, dated between April 5 and May 14, 1938, are being sold alongside a fourth draft of the screenplay, written by Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf, and a fifth draft from August 1938 by Langley. “It is the single most important manuscript in Hollywood history,” Brian Chanes, head of consignment at Profiles in History, told Reuters. Chanes said the more than 150 pages of handwritten manuscript notes and pages were “the genesis of ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” tracing its development and changes from first draft to the final version. Some 16 photos of special effects, including the tornado sequence that transports Garland’s Dorothy from Kansas to the magical land of Oz, will be included in the single lot. The archive is being sold by an anonymous private collector who bought it years ago from the late Los Angeles memorabilia collector, Forrest J. Ackerman, Chanes said. Profiles in History put an estimated sale value of $800,000 – $1.2 million on the archival material, which will be auctioned during its Hollywood memorabilia sale in Los Angeles from Dec. 11-14.