Monthly Archives: July 2019

Oz in the News 7.30.19

Madcap Puppets presents The Wizard of Oz at Ritter Park Madcap Puppets of Cincinnati presents The Wizard of Oz as part of the Greater Huntington Park & Recreation District Summer Funington series on Monday, July 29, 2019, at Ritter Park in Huntington.

Oz in the News 7.25.19

Oz-Style Magic to Twinkle at Mondo Pomona Con The literary meet-up, which is billed as “The World’s Longest-Running Convention Celebrating L. Frank Baum and and Land of Oz!,” isn’t solely about the beloved 1939 film, though that gem will certainly be screened at the Fox Theater Pomona on July 25, a night before the July 26-28 event officially kicks off. Fans of Mr. Baum’s characters and vast world-building skills will be able to explore several aspects of his stories throughout the weekend. The happenings are plentiful and including a Wicked Witch of the West impressionist, Collectors’ Show and Tell, a costume contest, a celebration of Ray Bolger, a look at Mr. Baum’s non-Oz works, and so much more. And whether you’re going for a day, or for the full weekend, there’s a ticket for you. Best explore the various levels of entry, and what each level means, as well as what is on the schedule, before you skip blithely along the 10 Freeway in the direction of the Kellogg West Conference Center in Pomona.

Oz in the News 7.24.19

Oconomowoc is getting a yellow brick road to celebrate the 80th anniversary of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Construction for the Wizard of Oz Plaza in the city of Oconomowoc is underway. DNA Landscaping, which is owned by Adam Woodard and David Batzner, began constructing the yellow brick road portion of the project in mid-July in anticipation of the 80th anniversary of the world premiere of “The Wizard of Oz.” The plaza is going in next to Oconomowoc City Hall, on the west side of the building. The classic film premiered in Oconomowoc on Aug. 12, 1939, and the city has spent the last few months finalizing plans for the celebration. Along with the yellow brick road, the plaza will include statues of Dorothy with Toto, the Tin Man, Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, the Wicked Witch of the West and the Wizard of Oz. “We did a bunch of research on what was going to look the best based on what the statues were going to be,” Batzner said of the yellow brick road. “We didn’t just want it to be yellow. We wanted some design to it, some flow. It’s exactly like it is in the movie.”

Sid & Judy, About Judy Garland and Sid Luft, Will Debut on Showtime in October The film, from director Stephen Kijak (Stones in Exile, We Are X) and producers Diane Becker and John Battse, is narrated by Emmy winner Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Oscar nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh (Patrick Melrose). Sid & Judy, which premiered at San Francisco’s Frameline Festival in June, explores the career and personal struggles of Garland through rare concert footage, never-heard-before voice recordings, and personal photos, as she navigated the tumultuous decade with her confidant, manager and, third husband: Luft. The film will debut on Showtime October 18 at 8 PM ET; check local listings.

Oz in the News 7.22.19

Publisher’s Weekly panel looks at how new publishers market comics Clover Press will release The Royal Book Oz, the fifteenth book of the Oz series written by Ruth Plumly Thompson after the death of Oz-creator L. Frank Baum.  Clover Press will use a combination of direct-to-consumer channels, crowdsourcing, and reader word-of-mouth to distribute new titles. Direct marketing to comic shops and bookstores would eventually follow.

Drag Queen Story Hour creates controversy El Segundo Faragher, who has been working solely as a professional drag queen for the past two years, said Drag Queen Story Hour is just about telling stories and having fun. “The core values of being a drag queen are love, acceptance, laughter, joy and expressing yourself,” Faragher said. “These are values we want to teach to our children. We want to teach kids to be empathetic and express themselves and love one another.” Surrounding Faragher has he read from the story books on Saturday was the museum’s current exhibit, called Oz, related to the Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the series of books by L. Frank Baum. Holly Crawford, the museum’s director of education, said the drag queen aspect fit with the museum’s message. “We have always wanted to host a program with DQSH, and our current Experience OZ (exhibit) was the perfect setting because of its message of inclusiveness,” Crawford said Thursday, July 18. “Remember, Dorothy is a young girl who arrives in a new place and meets many different people who become her friends. Everyone is welcome in the land of Oz and we want to promote those same goals with our programs.” Leading up to the event on Saturday, Crawford said she was aware of the planned protest. But for every complaint she has heard, there have been roughly 10 messages of support, she said.

Oz in the News 7.21.19

BWW Interview: Rebecca Rizzio And Eric Morris of CHASING RAINBOWS: THE ROAD TO OZ at Old Log Theatre The goal for this project has been to give this Minnesota audiences a chance to experience a side of Judy Garland they may not already know — the story of her early life before she became Judy Garland and the many obstacles she overcame to land her iconic role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. CHASING RAINBOWS brings a charm and freshness of this classic story. Ruby Rakos as Judy Garland is simply a must-see for anyone who has ever loved the song, “Over the Rainbow.” People will come away from this sneak-peek ready to buy tickets for Paper Mill.

Oz in the News 7.20.19

How Chicago’s Oz Park got its name Did you know Chicago has a “Wizard of Oz”-themed park? Jesse Kirsch walks us through the neighborhood favorite!
Author L. Frank Baum wrote the children’s book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” in 1900 while he was living in Chicago. More than a century later, Oz Park in the city’s Lincoln Park neighborhood pays tribute to the magical world he created. Statues of Dorothy and Toto, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow preside over their own corners of the park. Visitors can also explore “The Emerald Garden” and “Dorothy’s Playlot,” named for Baum’s character and Dorothy Melamerson, a retired local school teacher who helped pay for park improvements. The park is open to the public from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 2021 North Burling Street.

Exploring Bloomington’s Tie To An American Classic “The Wizard of Oz” was first published in 1900. It’s an American classic, with many knowing the story by heart. But Candace Summers, education director at the McLean County Museum of History, said there’s a local tie to the story that still surprises some. “Not many people, even if you’ve lived here all of your life, know the connection Bloomington-Normal, McLean County, has to one of the most beloved stories turned movie in our history,” Summers said. It starts in 1898. A baby girl is born by the name Dorothy Louise Gage to parents, and Bloomington residents, Sophie Jewell and Thomas Clarkson Gage. Five months and four days later, baby Dorothy died tragically of “congestion of the brain.” That would have been the end of Dorothy Gage’s story, Summers said, if it weren’t for her aunt and uncle.


Oz in the News 7.15.19

EARTHGANG Says Their Long-Awaited ‘MirrorLand’ Album Is Inspired By ‘The Wiz’ “We thought about how, if we’re going to make a project sonically to rival The Wiz, we got to create another world for people to imagine and go to,” said Venus. “You know when Dorothy got swept away and she met the Munchkins? That was such a beautiful thing.” The Wiz, itself an adaptation of the 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, featured musical stars in its cast including Diana RossMichael Jackson, and Lena Horne. The music of the film was written by the likes of Charlie SmallsValerie SimpsonLuther Vandross, and Quincy Jones, the latter of whom Venus invoked while talking about the album’s unreleased opener, “La La Challenge.” “You could see Quincy Jones on the piano, just playing away. That’s what ‘La La Challenge’ is about,” he said. “Right now, that’s the intro to the whole record. It’s really colorful. It’s really dangerous. It’s really trippy.”

Oz in the News 7.3.19

‘My Witch’ uncovers the beauty of Margaret Hamilton For many of us, her face is unforgettable. Though Margaret Hamilton’s name might not ring a bell, cringing at her cackle and hiding when her green face filled the screen during “The Wizard of Oz” was a childhood rite for millions. Bypassing scores of mean girls and women assassins, Almira Gulch and also the Wicked Witch of the West, were ranked as the top female movie villains by the American Film Institute. But the woman beneath the witch’s hat was surprising and inspiring. “My Witch: The Margaret Hamilton Stories,” which runs Wednesday through July 21 at Sag Harbor’s Bay Street Theater, brings audiences an intimate theatrical encounter with the iconic actress. Ten years in the making, the never-before-seen one-woman show was written by John Ahlin for his wife, actress Jean Tafler, after a reviewer likened a performance of hers to Hamilton’s witch. “Jean was miffed,” Ahlin recalls, “saying I don’t look like Margaret Hamilton.” But since the character she’d been playing was a villain, he convinced her it was a great review. “I started to wonder if there was a play in Margaret Hamilton, and within about a half a day of research I discovered she’s one of the most extraordinary women I’ve ever come across. She overcame so much in terms of how people treated her and getting past being judged on her looks.”

Oz in the News 7.9.19

Renee Zellweger Embodies Judy Garland in New ‘Judy’ Trailer “Judy” shows the world through Garland’s eyes 30 years after her star-making role in “The Wizard of Oz.” The musical biopic is set late 1960s shortly before Garland’s death, focusing on the performer’s run at the Talk of the Town club in London. The new footage, which was first teased during London Pride over the weekend with a special introduction by Zellweger, sees Garland arrive at a hotel with her two children, only to find that her suite has been released because her account was in debt. With her home and manager lost, Garland is offered a job in London, but she must leave her children in America in order to take it. “You’re saying I have to leave my children if I want to make enough money to be with my children?” Garland asks before cutting to her backstage at the Talk of the Town.

She’s A Witch! New Play Brings The Story Of Margaret Hamilton To Life On The Bay Street Stage It all began with a theater review, and not one that actress Jean Tafler found particularly flattering. “I was playing a female Ebenezer Scrooge at a theater in New Jersey, and the reviewer compared me to Margaret Hamilton,” Ms. Tafler said. “I didn’t like that. Margaret Hamilton, of course, is best known for portraying the Wicked Witch of the West, Dorothy Gale’s evil nemesis in the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz.” Her turn as the green-hued bad gal out to get the innocent farm girl from Kansas (and her little dog too) is the stuff of legends and nightmares. To this day, whenever “The Wizard of Oz” airs on television, her performance still has the power to terrify the wits out of small children. “John said she is a villain everyone loves to hate,” added Ms. Tafler, referring to her husband, playwright John Ahlin. Yet that singular, defining role was hardly the end of Hamilton’s story.

Wizard of Oz: A Theatrical Belly Dance Adventure Sadie Adair and the bevy of beauties who make up local belly dance troupe The Desert Darlings are back to take you into a magical realm known as Oz, in their third full-length production, Wizard of Oz: A Theatrical Belly Dance Adventure. All the way from Washington, D.C., Ebony Qualls joins the gals, starring as the Wizard themselves. These ladies aim to bring to the masses not just Middle Eastern dance, but something fresh, intriguing and clever to their all-ages audience with this show. South Broadway Cultural Center‘s John Lewis Theatre proudly hosts the gals for another year on Friday, July 12 and Saturday, July 13, with both shows beginning at 7pm. Adult tickets run $25, seniors and students get in for $20 and children 12 and under are only $15.

Oz in the News 7.4.19

How THE WIZARD OF OZ Influenced Ari Aster’s MIDSOMMAR “It was mostly in retrospect that I caught the allusions,” Aster said of Midsommar‘s connection to The Wizard of Oz. “But the first section could be seen as the Kansas section, yes.” “I wanted [the village in Midsommar] to serve as a real place that has a deep well of tradition and a rich history, and I wanted you to be able to stand in it and live in it,” he explained. “And at the same time, [the villagers] are really there for Dani. I wanted them to feel like a manifestation of Dani’s will. And in the end, they’re there to provide Dani with everything she needs, which Christian can’t.” Aster compared that to Dorothy’s experience in Oz, where she encounters the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), Tin Man (Jack Haley), and Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), who help her on her journey home–which is, metaphorically, really a journey of self discovery. “Everything [in Oz] is there to provide Dorothy with these revelations that are tailor-made for her,” Aster said.