Category Archives: Oz Events

Oz in the News 12.14.17

Ernie Harburg and Deena Rosenberg Will Celebrate the Music and Politics of Yip Harburg E.Y. “Yip” Harburg, lyricist of Finian’s Rainbow, the classic The Wizard of Oz film, and many more shows and movies, will be celebrated in a noon concert December 14 at the 92nd Street YM-YWHA (92Y) in New York City. Hosted and performed by cabaret singer Harvey Granat with accompaniment from pianist David Lahm, the concert will also examine the politics of Harburg (1896–1981), a leftist who spent time on the Hollywood blacklist, whose songbook also includes hits like “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime” and “It’s Only a Paper Moon.” Harburg’s “Over the Rainbow” (written with composer Harold Arlen) was listed as number one on the Songs of the 20th Century list compiled by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts. Special guests at the concert include Ernie Harburg, the lyricist’s son, and his wife Deena Rosenberg, cultural and music historian, author of Fascinating Rhythm: The Collaboration of George and Ira Gershwin, and founding chair of the musical theatre program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. 92Y is located on Lexington Avenue between 91st and 92nd streets in Manhattan. Tickets for The Lyrics of Yip Harburg concert cost $29, and can be ordered by clicking here.


Oz in the News 12.7.17

Local music teacher to host launch event for new children’s book Randy L. Schmidt, a music teacher at Adkins Elementary School in Lantana, has written his first children’s book, “Becoming Judy Garland,” a biography he has dedicated to the students of Adkins Elementary. The book explores the early life and career of Garland — originally named Frances Gumm — as she went from vaudeville to movie stardom to the “role of a lifetime” in “The Wizard of Oz,” according to a news release. “I wrote this book because I feel Judy Garland is still relevant to children, even after all these years,” Schmidt said in a prepared statement. “The timeless appeal of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ speaks to today’s kids in the same way it has for nearly 80 years. The Library of Congress says it’s ‘the most watched film ever,’ so most kids know Dorothy’s story, but not necessarily Judy’s. This book brings her extraordinary talent to life again for a new audience of adoring fans.” All Adkins students, their families and the community are invited to the upcoming book dedication and launch party, where Schmidt will read from his book and discuss his love of reading, research and writing. The event is scheduled for Dec. 18 at 6 p.m. in the Adkins Library Learning Center. For more information about Schmidt and his books, click here.

Oz in the News 11.24.17

Life of ‘Over the Rainbow’ lyricist to be celebrated  E.Y. “Yip” Harburg was an unsung hero whose songs we’ve always sung. His name may not be familiar, but the many songs of Edgar Yipsel Harburg certainly are: “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” “April in Paris,” “Brother, Can you Spare a Dime,” and what is perhaps the most beloved tune of the 20th century, “Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz.” He won an Academy Award for “Over the Rainbow,” yet his name has virtually been forgotten. To help reintroduce Harburg’s work and legacy to a new generation, a free public program entitled “The Song You Know, The Man You Don’t: An Evening of Stories and Songs Celebrating Yip Harburg,”  will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 in the Sunflower Financial Theatre at Salina Community Theatre. The program will be hosted by Ryan Jay, a nationally syndicated film critic and “Wizard of Oz” historian who has produced everything from “The Jerry Springer Show” to entertainment specials on Bravo, Showtime, Nickelodeon and MTV. Also on hand will be Harburg’s great-grandsons, musician David Harburg and producer Aaron Harburg, who will tell stories of their great-grandfather’s life and perform several of his classic songs. 

Oz in the News 10.17.17

Giant Wizard Of Oz ruby slippers centrepiece for Porthleven School firework fun day Inside a barn, somewhere in Cornwall (or possibly Kansas), something very strange and wonderful is taking place. A fresh lick of ruby red paint is being liberally applied to a pair of giant 7ft tall slippers. The giant (and possibly magical) shoes will form the centrepiece of a Wizard of Oz themed firework display and family fun day in Porthleven next weekend. It will be held with the grounds of Porthleven School and also raises money for the village primary school. The tornado-like force behind the event is local mum Leigh Yates, here in the guise of the Wicked Witch, and follows on from past events at the school which have included a medieval and Harry Potter days. Leigh said: “We’ll be showing the film on a giant cinema screen and we will have all the characters and quite a few show-stoppers. It’s going to be a really great evening.”

Hotel del Coronado: San Diego’s luxury landmark for 129 years Since its opening in February 1888, Hotel del Coronado has been a San Diego landmark, its silhouette rising from the coastline like a sandcastle reaching for the sky. The Del, as the resort is affectionately known, quickly became known for its setting and was touted in contemporary brochures as the “unrivaled Queen of seaside resorts … this enchanting spot has no equal in America … or the world.” In that era, wealthy guests traveled from the East Coast for a week or more by train and stayed at the resort for months at a time, enjoying San Diego’s mild temperatures and year-round sunshine, especially in the wintertime.


Oz in the News 10.14.17

Oz at the South Carolina State Museum Get ready for a month-long Halloween adventure as the South Carolina State Museum becomes the Museum of OzTravel to Oz with daily showings of, The Wizard of Oz 4-D Experience™, enjoy special OZ themed events all month long and follow the Yellow Brick Road from a Kansas farm all the way to the Emerald City. Enjoy tales of epic adventure in Oz told as a constellation myth, using imagined patterns of stars in the night sky. We’ll also take a quick look at the current night sky from here at home in Columbia.


Oz in the News 10.8.17

Yellow Bricks: OztoberFest features costumes, games, Lego portrait When Allen Hickmon was 7 years old, he told his mother he was going to grow up to be a Lego master. His parents would buy him Legos often, and he would spend hours on his Lego art creations. “My dad, he couldn’t understand why I was spending so many hours in my room just doing this,” Hickmon said. Later, when his father saw one of his major pieces being debuted in front of tens of thousands of people, he understood and was proud, Hickmon said. Hickmon, a Lego master from Kansas City who builds creations for clients, was at OztoberFest in Wamego Saturday, showing a portrait of Dorothy he made for the festival. The Lego portrait took him two full days to complete, he said. On his table display outside of the Oz Museum was also a smaller portrait of the Cowardly Lion, a small replica of the Oz Museum and the land of Oz.

Oz in the News 10.6.17

OZtoberFest to feature several Oz celebrities MGM’s legendary motion picture of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz book has enchanted audiences since its premiere in 1939. A major component of its unforgettable appeal is the performance of Margaret Hamilton, who has given millions of viewers an eternal dose of gleeful terror in her role as the Wicked Witch of the West. Her son, Hamilton Meserve, serves as keynote speaker of OZtoberFest! 2017 with his illustrated presentation, “OZ, The Witch, and Mom.” Joining him on Wamego’s special guest roster are the acclaimed Shanice Williams — who triumphed over several hundred other applicants to win the role of Dorothy in NBC-TV’s musical production of The Wiz Live! in December 2015 – and Gabriel Gale, conceptualizer and coauthor of the new book trilogy for children and young adults, Ages of Oz. Simon & Schuster published its first volume, A Fiery Friendship, in May. All three will be presented and/or interviewed onstage by best-selling author and Emmy Award-winning producer John Fricke, perennial OZtoberFest! master of ceremonies and preeminent Oz and Judy Garland historian.  Additional, returning guests for 2017 include: Paul Miles Schneider of Lawrence, author of Silver Shoes and The Powder of LifeJohnPaul Cafiero, whose family’s extraordinary collection makes up a great percentage of material showcased at Wamego’s OZ Museum; Ryan Jay, nationally-known film critic; and Jane Albright, current president of The International Wizard of Oz Club.