Category Archives: Oz Events

Oz in the News 6.20.17

For These Kansas City Puppeteers, Finding Something New In ‘Oz’ Means Toto Has To Go “Being in Kansas — holy crap — we just get inundated,” says Matt Hawkins, the puppet designer for Paul Mesner Puppet Theater’s production of The Wizard of Oz. “Every truck stop is full of Wizard of Oz.” So why would Mike Horner, the company’s artistic director, bother with yet another production of the story? “We look for titles people want to see and are familiar with. So, The Wizard of Oz, everybody knows it. And it lends itself well to adaption in puppetry,” Horner says. “When you can make a Tin Man that looks robotic and obviously isn’t some guy in a shiny suit, that’s part of the magic of puppetry.” Hawkins is a Kansas City paper sculptor who has created 3-D cardboard Star Wars puzzles for Costco and high-end art for Walt Disney World galleries. This was his first foray into puppet design. The Paul Mesner Puppet Theater’s The Wizard of Oz, June 20 through July 9 at Musical Theater Heritage at Crown Center, 2450 Grand Blvd, Suite 301, Kansas City, Missouri, 64108.

Oz in the News 6.10.17

Wizard of Oz Festival Gets Underway in Grand Rapids The 42nd annual Wizard of Oz Festival got underway in Grand Rapids on Thursday. Festivities began with a tea party and live music inside Judy Garland’s historic childhood home. Friday night, The Wizard of Oz will play outside on a jumbo screen on the Evergreen Terrace lawn next to the museum. Organizers say this event brings in people from across the country each year to remember Garland’s legacy and celebrate the timeless film. “France has the Mona Lisa, America has The Wizard of Oz,” says John Kelsch, director of the Judy Garland Museum. “It’s so much a part of our culture. It’s an American masterpiece.” The Emerald City Fest on Saturday will feature free carriage rides and games for kids. There are also some new exhibits at the museum featuring the ruby red slippers and the munchkins.

‘Over the Rainbow’: 10 things to know about classic American song It has been a classic in the Great American Songbook from the moment it was released on August 15, 1939. Today, thanks to pop star Ariana Grande, “Over the Rainbow” will forever be linked to the Manchester terrorist attack. Grande, whose concert on May 22 was followed by the deadly bombing which so far has claimed nearly two dozen lives, came back to Manchester this week to perform a benefit concert. And she built the show around the dreamy Somewhere, releasing the “Wizard of Oz” cover song as a single with all proceeds going to the victims. The song she chose to honor those who died and were injured in the bombing is a dazzling bit of emotion-laden songwriting. Here are some things Ariana Grande fans may not know about this true American beauty.

Review: Judy!, at Arts Theatre Each Judy stays in her time zone but all three will often share a number. Though they don’t set out to imitate Judy, some numbers do sound amazingly like her and all echo her spirit and vitality. The proscenium staging turns them more noticeably into performance numbers than in the earlier stagings and they are delivered with powerful emotion and theatrical panache.

Nostalgia with Craig Bennett – Judy Garland

Oz in the News 5.31.17

As Part Of Wizard Of Oz Festival, Museum Hosting Film, New Exhibit And Contest For Best Munchkin Story This year the Judy Garland Museum will be celebrating memories of the much-loved Munchkins from “The Wizard of Oz” film with three events: the showing of a film, “We’re Off to see the Munchkins,” a contest, and a new exhibit. This year at the Wizard of Oz Festival the Museum will open a new exhibit titled “The Munchkins in Grand Rapids.” In conjunction with this, a contest is being held for the best story (and/or picture) of meeting a Munchkin in Grand Rapids. The winner will have the opportunity to share their story/picture in the new exhibit, win a Household Membership to the Museum and a free ticket to the documentary film, “We’re Off to See the Munchkins.” The 90-minute film includes interviews with eight little people. The film will be shown on Saturday, June 10, at 3 p.m. in the Judy Garland Museum art room. To take part in this contest, you may submit your story in one of three ways: E-mail:; by mail: Judy Garland Museum, Box 724, Grand Rapids, MN 55744; or drop it off at the Judy Garland Museum, 2727 Pokegama Ave. South, Grand Rapids. The deadline for the contest will be June 5.

The Judy Garland Show Channel Comes to StreamNet.TV Featuring Tony Bennett, Liza Minnelli, and Guests StreamNet.TV is adding 26 one hour episodes of The Judy Garland Show Channel to its platform. This historic collection of 26 one-hour-long episodes includes an unprecedented list of guests — including Barbra Streisand, Mickey Rooney, Count Basie, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Ethel Merman, Bob Newhart, Donald O’Connor, Peggy Lee, Steve Allen, Jane Powell, Peter Lawford, Vic Damone, Jack Jones, and Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli, among others. Judy Garland also performed solo concert performances as part of this amazing, wonderful TV show.

Oz in the News 5.10.17

Eerie ‘Land of Oz’ theme park in North Carolina finally opening up for tours In 1970, people from around the country flocked to Beech Mountain, North Carolina to check out the new “Land of Oz” theme park. Its popularity was short-lived — the attraction shut down in 1980 after its owner passed away and a fire took down the site’s Emerald City. It hasn’t been left completely abandoned, though. In 1991, the park was opened for one day to curious visitors. And as we’ve previously reported, locals have taken it upon themselves to keep the amusement park in relative working order to open for the annual “Autumn in Oz” event. But this year, as they did last year, they’re opening it up on Fridays in June for visitors to come and enjoy an entirely different kind of Oz. The tours on June 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 will last for 45–60 minutes, and will introduce visitors to Dorothy as she guides you around her country home on the Yellow Brick Road. During your visit to the Land of Oz, you’ll meet Dorothy and accompany her on a tour of her country home — just before a cyclone whisks you away to the yellow brick road. This massive winding trail reaches all the way around the top of Beech Mountain, and is made of 44,000 actual yellow bricks. Tickets for the scheduled tours are on sale now for $25. For more information on the park and to buy tickets, head to the “Land of Oz” website.

Oz in the News 5.4.17

Jim Denomie’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ inspired art Celebrated Minneapolis artist Jim Denomie reveals his latest creation, a mural-sized painting that’s inspired by The Wizard of Oz. Titled Oz, the Emergence, Denomie details his own nightmarish vision of the 21st Century, using characters and scenes from the 1939 film as entry points. Denomie has a way of speaking immense truths, revealing injustices through both humor and dark commentary. You won’t want to miss his latest marvel.

‘Star Wars’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz’: Back in 1977, People Couldn’t Stop Comparing the Two How would you describe Star Wars to someone who’s never seen it? It’s not unusual for actors on a press tour to compare their movie to other beloved films, in hopes of getting audiences into the theater. But when Star Wars — Episode IV: A New Hope was first released in 1977, there really hadn’t been another film like it. So when the actors were asked to describe the film in interviews, they found a comparison that might not occur to modern audiences: the 1939 musical fantasy The Wizard of Oz.


Oz in the News 4.26.17

Wizard Of Oz GOOD WITCH / BAD WITCH Enamel pins Once again I’ve combined my love of pins and musicals to make another pin homage to THE WIZARD OF OZ, this time it’s about the Witches! The GOOD WITCH Pin will be; A whopping 45mm high (approx) / Hard Enamel / Gold plated metal finish / Blue Coloured Rubber Clutch on reverse / Will come affixed to an illustrated backing card. The BAD WITCH Pin will be; A whopping 45mm high (approx) / Hard Enamel / Gold plated metal finish / Pink Coloured Rubber Clutch on reverse / Will come affixed to an illustrated backing card. The BOXED PIN SET will be; Available in limited numbers / In Wizard of Oz themed GOOD WITCH/BAD WITCH boxes, designed to be more of a statement gift – or to spoil your self. 5 will contain both the GOOD WITCH and BAD WITCH pin. A further 5 will contain both the GOOD WITCH and BAD WITCH pin and the RUBY SLIPPER PIN from my earlier campaign.

Man spellbound by the Wizard of Oz Joe Shipbaugh, 29, has lost count of exactly how much he’s splurged on his collection, but knows he’s spent tens of thousands of pounds and has no plans to stop. It was love at first sight when Joe first watched the 1939 musical – which sees protagonist Dorothy, played by Garland, swept away from Kansas to the magical world of Oz – when he was two.

Wizard of Oz Convention to Meet in Portland, Oregon Wizard of Oz enthusiasts from across the USA and several foreign countries will gather in Portland, Oregon, from Friday, June 30 to Sunday, July 2, 2017. The 53rd annual OzCon International will be held at the Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel on NE Airport Way. The 3-day event is an opportunity for Oz enthusiasts to share their love for the world created by L. Frank Baum in all its many forms. Guests include Doug Aberle, John Fricke, and Inanna McGraw.

Oz in the News 4.24.17

The Tin Man before and after

CNY ‘Wizard of Oz’ signs get makeovers: See before, after photos As the village of Chittenango’s 40th annual Oz-Stravaganza approaches, festival organizers realized their two iconic “Wizard of Oz” figures that welcome people were in bad shape. A Scarecrow sign greets visitors entering the eastern side while a Tin Man sign welcomes travelers on the west side of the village. Both figures have been there for more than two decades, and were weather-beaten, said Colleen Zimmer, one of the festival organizers. The paint had faded, and they were in sad shape, she said.

‘Dorothy can keep it’: Sell-out ‘Wizard of Oz’ Primark dress fails to impress Huddersfield Primark may have sold out of this £15 ‘Wizard of Oz’ style dress. But ‘Dorothy can keep it’ as far as you’re concerned. The old-style gingham dress, which is selling for up to £45 on Ebay, did not impress Examiner readers. It had drawn favourable comparisons to the dress worn by Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz – or school summer dresses from a bygone era. But Examiner readers said it looked more like a tablecloth.

Rosie Brocklehurst commented: “Dorothy can keep it.”

Diane Hobson added: “Looks like a tablecloth.”

And Chrissie Oxley commented: “It’s horrible. They wouldn’t have to fight me for it – they can have it with pleasure.”

But some readers rather liked the now sold-out item. ‘Joanne Joanne’ comment: “OMG. This is the dress I have been looking for for ages.”