Monthly Archives: May 2019

Oz in the News 5.30.19

San Diego County Fair opens May 31 with ‘Oz-some’ theme The San Diego County Fair is back, featuring a “Wonderful Wizard of Oz” theme, called “Oz-some,” in a nod to the classic children’s tale by L. Frank Baum. The festivities kick off at 4 p.m. May 31, 2019 and continue through the July Fourth holiday. “The fair’s theme is quite special to San Diegans, because ‘Oz’ author L. Frank Baum is thought to have found inspiration for at least three of his 14 Oz books during his extended stays in Coronado ,” said Katie Mueller, deputy general manager of fair-time operations. “Though most people know Oz only through the famous movie, the fair has chosen to bring the books to life, including a few differences that will be a surprise to most. For instance, Dorothy’s famous slippers are silver, not ruby.” Perhaps not-so-surprising will be all of the Oz-themed attractions, decor and food stationed around the fairgrounds. At the Theme Exhibit, fair-goers will have the chance to see original props from the 1939 movie, borrowed from the USC Libraries and the Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas. One of the items is a Munchkin jacket. There’s also a chance to “Ask The Wizard” whatever one’s heart desires. And on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (excluding opening weekend), there is a “Winged Monkey Party” with DJ Man Cat, who will play electronic music to pump up revelers. June 13-16 and June 27-30, Oz historian John Fricke will speak about “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” book and film. He is the author of several Oz books and a Primetime Emmy Award winner.

The L. Frank Baum/Egypt  Connection Experience Ancient Egypt through the lens of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” author L. Frank Baum. Egyptologist and Baum expert David Moyer will present a special lecture on the author’s 1906 “grand tour” of Egypt at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 4 in the Community Room. During their six-week trip, Baum and his wife Maud visited Cairo, Luxor and Aswan. Baum took numerous photographs at each site. Moyer’s presentation will juxtapose these photos with his own photos of the same sites. The slides will be accompanied by selections from Maud Baum’s letters home describing her travels. Moyer graduated summa cum laude from the City College of New York and Hunter College with a bachelor of the arts degree in Egyptology. He has lectured on ancient Egypt in the United States and the United Kingdom. He is a member of several archaeological societies and has led tours to Egypt. Moyer has written a column for the “Kmt: A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt” since 1994 on Egyptological news around the world.

Oz in the News 5.25.19

Bay Street Theater Announces MY WITCH: The Stories Of Margaret Hamilton The show is a new play by John Ahlin which is about the life of Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. Will Pomerantz, Bay Street’s Associate Artistic Director, is directing the production. Will also directed the sellout smash Evita last summer at Bay Street TheaterMargaret Hamilton is portrayed by Jean Tafler (The Deadly Spawn and Una: A Dark Faerie Tale). The amazing tale of how a gentle kindergarten teacher from Cleveland scared the living daylights out of every one of us, and the brains, heart and courage it took to be America’s character woman. The show is described as surprising, fun, haunting and delightful. Margaret Hamilton‘s Wicked Witch of the West has left an indelible mark on all who have ever seen The Wizard of Oz. Tickets on sale now starting at $39.99 as part of an add on bonus to the 3-play subscription package for the 2019 Mainstage Season. For single tickets or to buy a subscription and add on My Witch: The Stories of Margaret Hamilton, call the Box Office at 631-725-9500; open daily 11 am – showtime or log on to

Oz in the News 5.24.19

How a small community in Michigan might have been an inspiration for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz “The story brought out the best in each individual,” said Robert Baum, the great grandson of L. Frank Baum, when 13 On Your Side visited with him at his home in Los Angeles, California. “The message in The Wizard of Oz is that everybody has the power within to conquer whatever challenges they face. “That message is likely why the fairy tale has transcended generations.” The Macatawa-Oz lore is known by some, but not by many. Current Holland Mayor Nancy DeBoer says she didn’t learn about it for a long time. “It took us probably living here ten years before we heard about The Wizard of Oz coming out of this area,” said DeBoer, who has been Holland’s mayor since 2015. Sally Laukitis, who is the executive director of the Holland Visitors Bureau, says the Macatawa-Oz lore is the city’s biggest kept secret. “I’m still amazed at the number of people who grew up in this town who still don’t really know that story,” said Laukitis. “Unless you knew someone who lived in Macatawa or in Castle Park, the L. Frank Baum story is kind of a hidden secret.”

Oz in the News 5.23.19

Follow newly constructed yellow brick road in Holland park Yellow bricks are being laid at Centennial Park in Holland, bringing scenes from “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” to life. This is the first piece in the Holland Oz Project, a free outdoor exhibit that will also include a living mosaic book made from plants and flowers, and bronze sculptures inspired from characters in “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” The main source of funding is from the visitors bureau and donations from a brick fundraising campaign, which has been extended to July 31. Personalized bricks are available for purchase for $100 to be placed in the yellow brick road in Centennial Park. For $200, personalized bricks can be purchased for placement in front of bronze sculptures of Wizard of Oz characters that will be located in front of the library. Five benches with engraved brass plaques are also available for purchase at $2,500 each. The brick campaign, including bench donations, has raised $36,000 so far, and the project has raised about $45,000 total — including donations from groups affiliated with the exhibit. The mosaic “living book” display is expected to arrive and be installed the week of June 3, Laukitis said. The display will be made of plants and flowers to resemble an open “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” book by the late L. Frank Baum. The author is rumored to have penned the stories while staying at his family’s Lake Macatawa cottage. The bronze sculptures are expected to be installed in mid-August this year. They will be sculpted by Brodin Studios, the same Minneapolis-based company that made “The Protector” statue in front of the Holland Public Safety Department.

Oz in the News 5.22.19

Creative Team For Kansas City Ballet’s THE WIZARD OF OZ Nominated For Major Award Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director Devon Carney today announced that the creative team for The Wizard of Oz including Septime Webre (choreography), Matthew Pierce (composer), Michael Raiford (set design) and Liz Vandal (costume design) have been nominated for the Prix Benois de la danse, considered to be the most prestigious ballet award in the world. Awards will be given in Moscow, Russia on May 21st during which Kansas City Ballet Company dancers Lilliana Hagerman (Dorothy), Lamin Pereira dos Santos (Tin Man), and Jeremy Hanson (Toto puppeteer) will perform a short excerpt from the production at the historic Bolshoi Theatre. Carney stated, “I am so honored by this recognition by such an esteemed organization and cannot wait to share this incredible production with others in the dance world this May. I have long loved Septime’s work. His extraordinary fresh take on this classic tale alongside the work of the rest of the creative team including the glorious music of Matthew Pierce, the stunning sets by Michael Raiford and the deliciously fun costumes of Liz Vandal was an instant hit when it debuted on the Kauffman Center stage last October. His unique artistic vision, along with this deeply talented creative team, offered our audiences a refreshingly original spectacle. The sheer artistry and the level of detail on every design element absolutely astonished audiences. To have this level of artistry recognized by the Benois de la danse is remarkable.”

Oz in the News 5.15.19

Chapel Hill Author Releases ‘Emeralds of Oz’ Chapel Hill author, Peter Guzzardi, is sharing his vision and encouragement towards self discovery by relating the life lessons learned from the Wizard of Oz. Guzzardi discussed the premise of Emeralds of Oz with Spectrum News ahead of his book release. “There’s no place like home,” he reiterated. It’s part of the film’s powerful message. “We all remember this moment from the film. Dorothy clicks her heels and says that phrase. Home isn’t just a place that holds your personal belongings. It’s a place within you,” Guzzardi said. Peter Guzzardi spent decades as an editor working with a wide variety of intellects, including Stephen Hawking, Deepak Chopra, Carol Burnett and Douglas Adams.  In Emeralds of Oz, Guzzardi draws parallel examples from the movie to encourage readers to follow their own ‘yellow brick road’ to navigate the world with guidance from their personal strengths.

Oz in the News 5.14.19

Nicholls to host ‘Wizard of Oz’ memorabilia collection, convention Fans of the classic 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz” have a unique opportunity to view a huge collection of memorabilia from the film at Nicholls State University. The Ellender Memorial Library is hosting an exhibition of the collection of local collector David Diket until the end of June and will also host the national convention of the International Wizard of Oz Club June 20-23. Diket’s collection contains books, original theatrical posters, autographs, dolls and ornaments among over 1,000 Oz-related items from both the movie and the L. Frank Baum books that were its inspiration.

Oz in the News 5.8.19

BWW Review: RAY BOLGER: MORE THAN A SCARECROW by Holly Van Leuven While readers will, of course, eagerly await tales from Bolger’s time on the set of The Wizard of Oz, it is what Van Leuven so expertly brings to the page about Bolger’s personal life and time as a veteran stage performer that make this book a must read for musical theatre historians and Oz fans alike. Having been given special access by UCLA and the Bolger estate, she vividly brings to life the real man behind the scarecrow mask to reveal an ardent showman and theatrical animal. Like many movie musical actors of the 1930’s, Bolger cut his teeth on the vaudeville stage in such landmark musicals as The Ziegfeld Follies and the George White Scandals. It’s no wonder that his costars in Oz (Judy Garland, Bert Lahr, and Jack Haney; “Dorothy,” “The Lion,” and “The Tinman” respectively) were all also vaudeville vets. The evidence of this is seen by their onscreen chemistry and cohesion. But unlike many stars of his day that floated effortlessly from stage to screen, Bolger’s unique, lanky looks unintentionally afforded him more time to train and hone his skills as a physical comedian turned dancing musical comedy leading man. Van Leuven painstakingly pours over volumes of letters (in Bolger’s own hand) and never-before-seen photographs from the UCLA Library and various other sources, to paint the picture of the real Ray Bolger.

Welcome to Oz: This isn’t Dorothy from the movie Leave it to Zenescope to take yet another classic character and mold it into their own version. In this short series we see Dorothy, who in her last series had a run in with the legendary Wizard and was put into a body that’s not her own. She also now has a sword, something Judy Garland was definitely not toting around in the film adaptation of the story. We also see that the Toto we know from the movie is all grown up and very wolf-like. There are also Zenescope’d versions of the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow.

Return to Oz – Film Review It’s colorful, has memorable characters, terrific casting, wonderful music, fantastic makeup and sets and immortal words of wisdom that manage to be both hokey and sweet at the same time. It’s simply magic. But let’s look back on some of the stuff that happens in the original film. You have a little girl who’s scared out of her mind in a land that she’s completely unfamiliar with, and she is being hunted and tormented by a terrifying witch with the worst cackle you’ve ever heard. When we first meet the titular Wizard of Oz, he’s a giant, green, Great Gazoo head who yells loudly and is accompanied by explosions and dense smoke. And then of course there’s the talking trees, the flying monkeys that can rip people apart and the little people with creepy high-pitched voices. That last one is only scary if you have achondroplasiaphobia, but I personally find them a tad unnerving regardless. You know what? The Wizard of Oz is kind of horrifying. As an adult, you can probably handle all of that creepy stuff rather well. But if you’re a kid, this film can scar you for life. Take it from me. I can’t look at pictures of Margaret Hamilton without flinching. “What’s your point, you sad loser?” you may be asking. First off, that’s very rude of you to say. Second, my point is that Return to Oz, the unofficial sequel that came out in 1985, is 10 times scarier than The Wizard of Oz. It’s so creepy, dark and weird that it should practically be considered a horror movie…..…….AND I LOVE IT.

Oz in the News 5.7.19

From Kansas to Oz to Beech: Local Oz-themed park to celebrate 80th anniversary of film’s release Over a mile above sea level, Beech Mountain’s Land of Oz theme park — which closed as a full-time theme park in 1980 — is continuing to take its visitors to Kansas, the mythical city of Oz and beyond. And this fall, the park will be buzzing again with lions, tigers, bears and more as the 80th anniversary of the cult classic film is celebrated. Since 1994, property owners Emerald Mountain Realty have opened the gates to the park on a limited basis. In 2019, those limited openings will expand the annual Autumn at Oz to two weekends, Sept. 6-8 and 13-15. The newer Journey with Dorothy events, which started in 2013, take place June 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 26-28 and July 5. “We’re really excited about it,” said Sean Barrett, the artistic director of the Land of Oz. At the 2019 Autumn at Oz, the park will have costumes and memorabilia from the 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film in its museum exhibit. Also new will be additions to the stage show, which debuted in 2018. “Last year, we introduced an Emerald City tent area and introduced a finale stage show for the first time since 1980,” Barrett said. Along with props and costumes from the 1970s, the 2019 Autumn at Oz will feature craft vendors, a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, meet and greets with all the main characters, dancing farmhands and other vignette shows set in Kansas, plus other new surprises along the yellow brick road. In the park’s Emerald City, official Land of Oz memorabilia, food vendors, memorabilia vendors, “Oz” celebrities and more will be featured in 2019. “We’re building upon and fine-tuning things we have implemented in the past two years,” Barrett said. “All proceeds from ticket sales go back into the park. We’ve had a great last couple years while maintaining the park with proper renovations.” The Journey with Dorothy events in June and early July are a more intimate event, Barrett said, with tour members playing the cast members.

Wizard of Oz 4K Update Speaking of Warner Bros, you may have noticed that we’ve had The Wizard of Oz: 80th Anniversary Editionon our 4K Ultra HD Release List for a few months now. Well, our industry and retail sources are now suggesting that we may see it in July.

Oz in the News 5.4.19

Sound Stage LIVE! and ESMoA present Experience 41: OZ Experience 41: OZ is an immersive exhibit where guests control the story using their mobile devices, opening June 13, 2019 at ESMoA in El Segundo, CA. OZ can be experienced as a stand-alone art show during the day, and as a ticketed mobile-interactive experience during selected evenings. Jeff Cason, CEO and Creative Producer of Sound Stage LIVE! remarks, “We’re using brand-new technology that allows guests to step into their favorite story and interact with the characters in a 360° experience. OZ combines art, animation, and mobile gaming into an immersive experience that’s fun for guests of all ages.” By day, and during free non-ticketed hours, visitors can view original artworks and objects connected to and inspired by the OZ story in ESMoA’s gallery. Guests can use the Gallery Grid to learn more about the artworks on display and try their hand at OZ trivia. By night, the ticketed event offers a unique immersive experience where OZ comes to life with digital projections, as the story’s characters step out of their frames and onto the walls every half hour. Guests use their mobile devices to interact with the story, playing mini-games to help Dorothy and her friends on their journey to the Emerald City. In between shows, guests can take pictures in colorful themed photo zones, and enjoy Oz-inspired cocktails and goodies available for purchase.