Category Archives: Oz in Pop Culture

Oz in the News 8.19.17

Pumpkins, Squash and Gourds, Oh My! Autumn at the Arboretum Fall Festival Returns with “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” Theme For the 12th year, Autumn at the Arboretum includes the nationally acclaimed Pumpkin Village featuring pumpkin houses and creative displays utilizing more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash, along with hay bales and cornstalks. Themed “Pumpkins, Squash and Gourds, Oh My!”, the Pumpkin Village takes each visitor on a trip highlighting the beloved book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Guests travel through Pumpkin Village on an actual yellow-brick road, spiraling through Pecan Grove with stops at each major occurrence in the story of Dorothy and her adventures in the “Land of Oz”–reimagined with pumpkins, squashes and gourds. Vignettes include “Auntie Em’s house,” the “Scarecrow’s Garden,” the “Enchanted Forest” with the “Tin Man” and “Cowardly Lion,” “Munchkinland,” “Emerald City” showcasing the carriage pulled by “A Horse of A Different Color,” and the “Wicked Witch’s Castle” including the Hay Bale Maze mimicking the castle walls. “Munchkinland” is also the home of the Tom Thumb Pumpkin Patch offering pumpkins for purchase and children’s activities. Photo-opportunities also abound throughout the village.

Wizard of Oz Days to be held Aug. 26-27 in New London When it comes to “Wizard of Oz” festivals, Clarksville’s loss is New London’s gain. Clarksville hosted a popular Day in Oz festival in 2015 and 2016. However, last week Clarksville officials abruptly announced that the town’s 2017 festival, initially scheduled for Aug. 19, was canceled for various reasons. Then on Tuesday, promoters announced that a new event — the “Wizard of Oz” Days — will be Aug. 26 and 27 in New London, featuring many of the same activities previously offered in Clarksville. What’s going on? You’ll have to ask Jackson Bishop, the former marketing director of the Clarksville Community Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the city’s Day in Oz festival. Bishop moved to New London some months ago, and he apparently decided to take Dorothy and the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion with him. And Toto, too.

Oz in the News 8.17.17

Headstone of Piqua-born ‘Oz’ author unveiled A memorial dedication and headstone unveiling of Piqua-born author of two books in the “Wizard of Oz” series was held at Forest Hill Cemetery in Piqua today. Jack Snow penned two books telling the further adventures of Dorothy, the Wizard, the Scarecrow and other characters from the Land of Oz, who were first introduced by L. Frank Baum. The titles of Snow’s books were “The Shaggy Man of Oz” and “The Magical Mimics of Oz”, according to a release from the International Wizard of Oz Club. Snow was a 1925 graduate of Piqua High School and died in New York City on July 11, 1956. The headstone was supported by a grant from the International Wizard of Oz Club, which has more than 500 members worldwide.

Oz in the News 8.16.17

Lauren Looks Back: The Great Movie Ride At Disney’s Hollywood Studios Disney’s Hollywood Studios has closed one of its most iconic rides–The Great Movie Ride–to make way for the first Mickey Mouse ride in any of the Disney parks. The ride helped shaped Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Originally designed for a pavilion at Epcot (and would have been called “Great Moments At The Movies”, which would show you how movies were made, and take you through the movies themselves) former Disney CEO Michael Eisner and WDI president Marty Sklardecided the ride was strong enough to carry an entire theme park, and thus Hollywood Studios was born. There was also to be more Wizard of Oz, but MGM was unwilling to give out more than what they had already given Disney, and Disney didn’t want to pay for more either. If you’re familiar with the ride you’ll no doubt remember the Wizard of Oz scene, where the Wicked Witch appears in a cloud of red smoke.

Oz in the News 8.10.17

‘Wizard of Oz’ fest takes Southland down yellow brick road “Dorothy’s story is a journey that everyone can relate to,” said Ryan Jay, a film critic and Oz historian who hosted interviews on stage at the event. “No matter how much the world changes in terms of technology, her experience remains universal.” He said it’s appropriate for the Wizard of Oz Fest to be held in the Chicago area because it’s where L. Frank Baum wrote “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” which was first published in 1900. Besides the 1939 film based on the novel, Jay said the Oz stories continue to spawn different adaptations, including an upcoming film based on the popular Broadway show “Wicked.” Baum went on to write 13 more novels based on the Land of Oz, including “Return to Oz,” which was adapted as a live action film by Disney and released in 1985. Emma Ridley, one of the stars of that film, was at Odyssey signing photos of the character she played, Princess Ozma. “It’s so great seeing the next generation of Oz fans,” she said. The British-born actress said she has had fun being part of the Oz family and traveling to conventions around the country. Also at the event was Mary Ellen St. Aubin, whose late husband, Parnell St. Aubin, starred as one of the 124 “munchkins” in the 1939 film. “It’s been very interesting,” St. Aubin, 96, said of representing her husband during Oz events. “I get to meet new people every year.”

New musical adaptation of ‘Wizard of Oz’ Munchkins and monkeys and mice, oh my! These creatures and more fill the Orinda Community Center Park Amphitheater as the story of “Wizard of Oz” unfolds through Aug. 12. Presented by the Orinda Starlight Village Players, this show is a new musical adaptation by Malcolm Cowler, who also directs. The multitalented Cowler also wrote the lyrics for the 10 songs and created a three-dimensional land of Oz using RPG computer graphics. The clever graphics, which fill the backstage wall, add much to the production. Christopher Kula and Ray Christensen composed the music, while Jill Gelster and Marian Simpson did the costumes with help from East Bay Children’s Theater and Bay Area Stage.


Oz in the News 8.4.17

Repaving the Yellow Brick Road in ingenious “Bricklayers of Oz” There is something about “The Bricklayers of Oz,” dancer-choreographer Jessica Deahr’s ingenious new hip-hop dance-theater piece for Chicago Dance Crash, that is so imaginative, so playfully revisionist, so of the moment in its biting social commentary, and so superbly realized by all the artists involved, that it feels like an instant classic all its own. Sophisticated enough to please any adult, and propulsive and glittery enough to captivate young audiences, it should enjoy a life far beyond its current brief engagement through Aug. 5 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. Info:

Wizard of Oz Fest returns to Tinley Park Activities will include performances by the Spirit of Oz costumed characters, talks by John Fricke, noted Wizard of Oz historian and author, an interactive talk titled “All About Oz” with Jane Albright, president of the International Wizard of Oz Club, pie-eating contests and singing competitions. Contestants can try their hand at imitating the Wicked Witch of the West’s distinctive cackle in one competition that will be held. Visitors can walk along a recreated Yellow Brick Road, and in the Dorothy Gale Farm Area there will be hay rides, pony rides and petting zoo. There will also be an opportunity to shoot, using an air cannon, stalks of corn at targets, or race rubber ducks.nThe fest offers a number of food and craft vendors, and costumed Wizard of Oz characters mingling with the crowd. More information is at

Oz in the News 8.3.17

Allison Mack on How Smallville Prepared Her To Get Lost in Oz “I think anytime you’re playing something that’s either true-to-life or something that’s existed for a long period of time, there’s a lot of responsibility but also a lot of privilege in that because it’s just a minefield of goodies and ideas and backstory and things that other people other people have laid out and you’re actualizing,” Mack told “So it feels like you’re being indoctrinated into this really cool club with people who have been creating these stories about these great characters for such a long time. I think we always had that feeling on Smallville, that we’re honoring something that has really influenced the culture and society for a long time. And Lost in Oz has that same feeling as well.”

Hollywood Moms Bring Their Kids to ‘Lost in Oz’ Premiere! Jordana Brewster and Jamie-Lynn Sigler pose for a photo with their sons while attending the premiere of the new Amazon Prime Video series Lost in Ozon Tuesday afternoon (August 1) at NeueHouse in Hollywood. Soleil Moon Frye was their with her daughters while Shiri Appleby attended solo.



Wicked: the 16th longest running London show WICKED, the West End musical phenomenon that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, will tonight play its 4567th performance at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, surpassing the triumphant run of Billy Elliot The Musical to become the 16th longest running show in London theatre history.

Oz in the News 7.31.17

Two characters from The Wizard of Oz coming to Vynl in October Two characters from The Wizard of Oz are coming to Funko’s Vnyl range this October. Fans of the classic movie, which starred Judy Garland, will be able to add Dorothy and Scarecrow to their collection. The pack also includes Dorothy’s trusty companion Toto, who is integral to the movie. We’ve got our fingers crossed that some of Dorothy’s other companions will be added to the collection in the near future!

Australian actress chosen for Wizard of Oz Dreams really do come true for Melbourne actress Samantha Leigh Dodemaide who has just landed the role of Dorothy in an upcoming Australian stage production of the Wizard of Oz, beating more than 400 actresses. ‘I remember watching MGM musicals on a Saturday afternoon with my Mum and that’s how I got my love of music theatre, from Judy Garland, Doris Day, the classics, and who better to be inspired by than them? The Wizard of Oz was definitely a favourite,’ she said. ‘If Toto needs to share my dressing room I’m more than happy for that to happen as well.’