Category Archives: Oz Events

Oz in the News 9.25.18

No place like home: Festival transforms Tinley Park facility into Oz As Dorothy is offering her farewells to her new friends toward the end of the film “The Wizard of Oz,” she tells the Scarecrow, “I’ll miss you the most.” “No, you won’t,” Jane Lahr said Saturday during the 37th Annual Wizard of Oz Fest in Tinley Park. “You’ll miss the Lion.” Of course, Lahr’s opinion may have been biased. She’s the daughter of Bert Lahr, who played the Cowardly Lion in the 1939 film. She said her father had a low opinion of one of his co-stars, Ray Bolger, who played the Scarecrow, calling him a “ham.” With TV rebroadcasts several times a year the “Wizard of Oz” film still generates a lot of fans and thousands of them visited Odyssey Fun Farm, site of this year’s fest. “Some people think they show (the movie) too much. I don’t think so,” said Karen Owens, who sells Wizard of Oz collectibles and was one of several vendors at the festival. “There’s nothing greater than a young child seeing the ‘Wizard of Oz’ for the first time and still falling in love with it,” Owens said.

Oz in the News 9.10.18

How the Smithsonian Helped Sleuth Out the True Identity of a Pair of Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers Dawn Wallace and Richard Barden stood in the museum’s objects conservation lab looking over two shoes. Red. Sequin-covered. Small heels. Petite in size. Wallace, an objects conservator, had recently spent more than 200 hours examining the museum’s long-cherished pair of Ruby Slippers, worn by Judy Garland while filming the iconic 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz. Barden, the museum’s chief conservator, had spent decades with the collections, including the sparkling shoes that are slated to go back on view in a new showcase display on October 19, 2018. Those shoes, now fully conserved thanks to the support of 6,000 Kickstarter backers who funded their preservation, were safely stored elsewhere in the museum. The shoes that sat before Wallace and Barden had been delivered by FBI agents for examination, and could be the key to a 13-year-old mystery. “Wow, I think these are the real thing,” Wallace thought.



Oz in the News 8.29.18

Wizard of Oz fans gather for Oz Days in New London The annual Oz Days in New London proved the 1939 film, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” still has plenty of fans almost 80 years after it hit the big screen. People of all ages arrived at the Old School Event Center and the adjacent New London City Park for this year’s weekend celebration.

Oz in the News 8.27.18

‘Oz’ fans attend festival dressed as favorite characters The Scarecrow handed a “Wizard of Oz”-themed prize pack to Destiney Buss, Austin Buss and Jesse Kinman, all of Loraine, Ill., as well as Lyle Gillham of Warsaw, Ill., for dressing as the Wicked Witch of the West and her winged monkey assistants. It’s the group’s second year in a row winning one of the festival’s costume contests, and it’s the third year in a row for Lyle, 2. He previously won when the festival was held in Clarksville, Mo., three years ago. The annual “Wizard of Oz” event lets fans of the movie and books dress like their favorite characters, meet a touring company of “Oz” characters, participate in fun activities and shop from a variety of vendors. Lyle’s mother, Orinda Gillham, sewed the group’s costumes just a couple days before the festival kicked off on Saturday. “We decided to do the witch and the monkeys because you don’t often see them at this festival,” Gillham said. “We’ll have to step up our game next year after having won a couple of times.”

Oz in the News 8.9.18

All yellow brick roads lead to Mapleton this Saturday for Oz Fest It’s not quite a yellow brick road, but the signs posted around the village of Mapleton and its surrounding thoroughfares will be followed in droves this Saturday — all leading to Butler Haynes Park, home of Oz Festival Illinois. The festival, which celebrates the whimsical adventures from the beloved 1939 motion picture, found solid footing after an explosion in attendance three years ago that vaulted the tiny celebration designed for kids into the collection of well-known Oz Fests across the country. The high-mark in attendance was 5,000 people in 2015 with the last two years decreasing to around 1,600 attendees, according to Angela Martiens, the superintendent of recreation for the Hollis Park District. That stability has allowed festival organizers to tweak the formula of the event — for example, there are fewer overall vendors than in 2016 but more that specifically cater to “The Wizard of Oz” fans.

Additional showing added to see ‘The Wizard of Oz’ in 3D on Friday at the Peoria Riverfront Museum In conjunction with Oz Festival Illinois on Saturday, the Peoria Riverfront Museum’s Giant Screen Theater will show “The Wizard of Oz” twice Friday night in 3D. The first screening at 6 p.m. is already sold out, but the 8:30 p.m. showtime still has plenty of tickets available. Hollis Park District director Jim Robertson will be at the theater to introduce the film, and a few special guests from the Mapleton festival might also be in attendance at the theater.

Oz in the News 8.2.18

There’s a ‘Wizard of Oz’ convention coming to Pomona Click your heels together three times, because the 54th OzCon International will be held on the Cal Poly Pomona campus on Aug. 10-12. Special guests for OzCon will include writer Andy Mangels, who produced the bonus features for the film, “Journey Back to Oz,” and Christianna Rickard, the niece of Ray Bolger and author of the book, “A Legend in Straw.” The event will celebrate the 100th anniversary of L. Frank Baum’s “The Tin Woodman of Oz,” the 12th book in the classic series, as well as the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz” and author Rachel Cosgrove Payes. There will be panels, displays, an auction, vendors, opportunities for attendees to swap their collectibles, a costume contest and more.

Casting Announced For New American Folk Theatre’s SCRAPS New American Folk Theatre is pleased to announce casting for its world premiere of SCRAPS, the story of the Patchwork Girl of Oz, many years after her celebrated adventures in L. Frank Baum‘s Oz book series. Follow Scraps on her journey of self-discovery and her effort to shed herself of the patchwork quilt that she is made of in order to become a more “normal” person. Using the setting of America’s first fairy tale, this play explores racial and gender identity, and the myriad of people that make up the patchwork of this country. SCRAPS explores our capacity to love and our need to find intimacy through trust and friendship. Comments Co-Artistic Jamal Howard, “Scraps is such a special script that uses a familiar fantasy world – Oz – to dive into a woman’s journey of self discovery and love. Many of us know what it feels like to be different and Scraps has a chance to disguise herself and live out a fantasy she didn’t even realize she had. Her story of searching for truth and meaning in life is universal.” Written by Co-Artistic Director Anthony Whitaker* and directed by Co-Artistic Director Jamal Howard*, SCRAPS will play September 1 – 29, 2018 at The Den Theatre (2A), 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets go on sale Thursday, August 2, 2018 at or by calling (773) 697- 3830. The press opening is Tuesday, September 4 at 7:30 pm.

Oz in the News 7.25.18

Reimagined classic ‘Wizard of Oz’ debuts in Kansas City area as theater, ballet Think you’ve seen enough “The Wizard of Oz” productions?Organizers promise you’ve not seen any like these: the first live stage production to incorporate stills and film clips and the debut of a new ballet based on the 1939 American musical fantasy film synonymous with Kansas. “It’s all things Oz in the Kansas City area this year,” said Mark Edelman, whose last project before retiring after 40 years at the helm of Kansas City’s Theater League has been to develop this live stage version that will run for four performances Aug. 1-4 at the Providence Medical Center Amphitheater in Bonner Springs, just west of Kansas City. Edelman has licensed from Warner Brothers the use of up to 40 scenes from the MGM movie that will be projected on a 40-by-20-foot video wall at the rear of the stage. You won’t see Judy Garland on the screen, you’ll see recognizable scenes behind the live actors. Next to the amphitheater, the National Agricultural Center & Hall of Fame is presenting daytime programming Aug. 2-4. The center’s “Oz Comes to Kansas” allows visitors to experience a farm town similar to what Dorothy Gale would have experienced while living on her family’s Kansas farm. Pet farm animals, ride a train, take photos with characters from the musical, watch a puppet version of “The Wizard of Oz,” participate in crafts and activities, and see one of the largest private collections of Oz memorabilia. Admission is $8 adults, $4 ages 2-12; food and drinks will be available for purchase.