Monthly Archives: January 2019

Oz in the News 1.29.19

‘Wizard of Oz’: Dorothy kills at box office For a 1939 movie, “The Wizard of Oz” knows how to dazzle the 2019 box office. The Judy Garland musical grossed more than $1 million at the domestic box office Sunday. It’s a new record for Fathom Events in presenting a classic film. For the day, “Oz” ranked at No. 8 at the box office and pulled off that feat with just two showings in about 700 theaters. The screenings continue Tuesday, Jan. 29, and Wednesday, Jan. 30. You can find the theaters at fathomevents.com. After the stellar box-office performance Sunday, “Oz” had earned more screenings: at 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, and at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5. (Check times in your area.)

Oz in the News 1.24.19

If ever a Wiz there was: that time Margaret Hamilton visited ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ “I would hear stories all the time of adults who said, ‘Boy, I’m still afraid of that witch, and the flying monkeys,’” said David Newell, who portrayed Mr. McFeely on the program. “I said to Fred, ‘Here’s something we maybe could use in dealing with scary things.” In the episode, the grandmotherly actress talks about the fun and hard work of making a movie. She defuses some of the mystery and scariness children might derive from watching it by showing how the costume — and that amazing hat — are just items of clothing. Then, she tells viewers that her witch wasn’t necessarily mean, just frustrated: she wanted those ruby slippers (which, when you think about it, belonged to her, not Dorothy). Mister Rogers agrees that for girls, or boys, “when you feel as if you’d like to play something a little bit scary, a witch is a fine thing to play.” He refers to the witch as “your old friend” and Ms. Hamilton as “a real lady who got dressed up to play this part.”

Oz in the News 1.12.19

Wicked musical casts its first black Glinda as Brittney Johnson makes history Brittney Johnson just made history on Broadway. The stage actress became the first black performer to take on the mantle of Glinda in an English-language production of Wicked on Thursday. The ever popular musical, an alternate take on The Wizard of Oz, has been playing in New York for over 15 years.  Brittney joined the cast of the perennial hit back in June. She was cast as a member of the ensemble and as Glinda’s understudy. As an understudy, she had to be ready to assume the role whenever necessary, and the opportunity finally came Thursday night.  The actress and singer posted another photo of herself in the Glinda costume with a radiant smile on Friday, saying she would be reprising the role later that night. ‘The importance of this moment in history is only amplified by the message of this beautiful show: Love, friendship, and kindness are stronger than any division caused by a fear of ‘otherness,’ she wrote. ‘Love can break down barriers to change the world. I’m so grateful to the Wicked team for trusting me to tell this story. Representation is so important and I’m honored to be a representative here on Broadway and in the theatre community. My hope and prayer is that people all over the world can see my story and have faith that they can achieve their dreams too. ‘I’m going to keep dreaming big and working hard to continue breaking down doors so that Everyone who wants to has a chance to walk through! Let’s do it again tonight! See you at 8!’

Oz in the News 1.11.19

Ruby Rakos, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Karen Mason, More Are Part of Chasing Rainbows Workshop An industry presentation of Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz, a new musical about the early life of Judy Garland, from her vaudeville sister act through her rise at MGM to win the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, is presented January 10 in New York City. Chasing Rainbows is the first stage, film, or television property about the life of Judy Garland to receive the endorsement of the Garland Estate. The musical utilizes tunes from the Sony Music/Feist Robbins catalog, including “Over the Rainbow,” “You Made Me Love You,” “Everybody Sing,” “In Between,” and “Dear Mr. Gable.” The production was conceived and created by actor, director, and teacher Tina Marie Casamento. Garland historian John Fricke, author of The Wizard of Oz: An Illustrated Companion to the Timeless Classic, is a consultant on the project.

Oz in the News 1.10.19

Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton SS19 Collection to Debut at Chrome Hearts Pop-Up Hosted by New York’s Chrome Hearts flagship store, the “temporary residency” will include a limited selection of items from the forthcoming collection, including thematic Wizard of Oz goods. A “Brick Road” crew neck sweater, poppies & Dorothy-emblazoned windbreaker and a metallic silver poncho inspired by the Tin Man, crafted from treated leather and paper. Visit the Chrome Hearts flagship from January 10 onward to shop a curated selection of Louis Vuitton SS19 goods before they arrive at global LV stores.

Oz in the News 1.5.19

Elizabeth Letts Finds the Wizard Behind Oz We all need a bit of magic from time to time,” Maud Gage Baum says to the young Judy Garland in Elizabeth Letts’s new novel, Finding Dorothy (Ballantine, Feb.). Maud—the widow of Wizard of Oz creator L. Frank Baum and the indefatigable central character of Letts’s story—is a woman profoundly familiar with both the importance of magic and the endless challenges of creating it. Warm, articulate, and fiercely intelligent, Letts feels as vibrantly present as if she were sitting across the table, though our conversation is being conducted remotely—Letts in her California home, me in North Carolina. Letts’s novel moves fluidly between two phases of Maud Baum’s life: her long relationship with Frank Baum (from their meeting in 1880 through the completion of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1899) and the adaptation of the book into film two decades after Frank’s death. The larger-than-life Baum—a ferociously inventive, optimistic, and talented man who failed in theatrical, publishing, and retailing ventures before Oz became a bestseller in 1900—comes effervescently to life in Letts’s pages, and his creative vision forges the most obvious link between her novel’s two narratives. Yet it’s a chain of female mentorship that forms the most memorable connections in the novel. As the younger Maud raises four sons and keeps her family afloat amid endless financial vicissitudes, she feels a deep bond with Magdalena, her sister Julia Carpenter’s daughter and one possible inspiration for the character of Dorothy. “The Carpenters homesteaded in Dakota Territory, where the Baums also lived for a time. Julia Carpenter’s diary offered me so many small useful details, and I’m grateful to have had the chance to explore the area where they lived myself,” Letts says. “When I visited the library in Aberdeen, where Frank opened a short-lived store, the staff let me sit and look through boxes of Baum family memorabilia spanning decades of their lives. Maud’s lace and stationery, lots of family photographs: it was touching those things, and seeing those places, that really brought the story to life for me.”

Vaquera Is Taking On The Wizard of Oz at MoMA PS1 Since its start seven years ago, Vaquera has mined culture high and low, producing nontraditional fashion shows inspired by, among other things, high school; religious iconography and casinos; status symbols like Tiffany & Co. bags and the American flag; and the Margaret Atwood classic, The Handmaid’s Tale. The trio composed of Patric DiCaprio, Bryn Taubensee, and Claire Sully will continue its brand of “fashion fan fiction” into 2019 with a performance at MoMA PS1 this April consisting of a stage reinterpretation of The Wizard of Oz. Titled “Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead,” it will riff on L. Frank Baum’s original text, film productions of the book, and the musical Wicked, as well as other modern retellings. Vaquera’s performance is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, promising a cast of artist, model, and actor collaborators. As for the show itself, the trio says, “We will deconstruct what it is about the characters from The Wizard of Oz that have resonated with so many people . . . . You can expect something wild and bizarre.”

Oz in the News 1.3.19

LEGO Collectible Minifigures for The LEGO Movie 2 officially revealed This series, 71023 The LEGO Movie 2 Collectible Minifigures will feature 20 characters from the new film, some of which are cross-licensed with The Wizard of Oz. The Wicked Witch of the West and her Flying Monkeys made an appearance in The LEGO Batman Movie with sets such as The Ultimate Batmobile, and it looks like the rest of the gang is showing up in The LEGO Movie 2. Included are Dorothy & Toto, The Scarecrow, The TinMan, and  The Cowardly Lion. Most other sets for The LEGO Movie 2 are already available. The film comes out Febuary 8.