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.