Category Archives: Oz Music

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 6.12.19

Backstage at the Emerald City: Never-before-seen candid photographs showing 17-year-old Judy Garland getting ready on set of the 1939 Wizard of Oz go up for auction The photos have remained in the photographer’s family for eight decades but are now being sold with California-based Julien’s Auctions. They are expected to fetch $5,000. Jason DeBord, specialist at Julien’s Auctions, said: ‘These never before seen photos give fans of the film and cinema at large a rare glimpse into the making of one of the most famous, revered and beloved films from the Golden Age of movies.

ESMoA transforms into the ‘Wonderful World of Oz’ for latest exhibit ESMoA (El Segundo Museum of Art) transforms beginning Thursday, June 13, into Oz with vintage memorabilia and artwork from the nearly 120 years of the Oz universe to current artwork inspired by the Baum series of books. “There’s this whole expanded universe of this world of Oz… we’re trying to help people see this whole hidden world that they didn’t expect,” said curator Jeff Cason. The foundation of the exhibit is Baum’s first book “The Wonderful World of Oz,” which was followed by 39 other books in the Oz series. All 40 books will be on display at ESMoA as well as original illustrations by W.W. Denslow, John R Neill and others. “We’re featuring a first edition of that book on display and we have a corner of the museum that’s almost set up like a collector’s library… the imagination and the storytelling of this book kind of flows out and paints all the walls of the museum as if the story has come to life around you,” Cason said. Five murals, some as high as 15-feet tall, by L.A. artists Aiseborn and Copyison, bring famous locations from Oz to life including Munchkinland, Emerald City and the witch’s castle.

Bay Street to present ‘My Witch’ about Margaret Hamilton “I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog too.” How many of us had nightmares instigated by that famous line from “The Wizard of Oz,” and more notably the woman who uttered them, Margaret Hamilton, playing the Wicked Witch of the West? Her life will be examined in a new play added to the summer schedule at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor. “My Witch: The Stories of Margaret Hamilton” by John Ahlin will run at the theater July 12-21. Jean Tafler will play Hamilton, who started out as a kindergarten teacher in Cleveland. Ahlin’s play traces Hamilton’s transformation to the actress who scared (and is still scaring) the living daylights out of generations of youngsters. (Her performance is ranked fourth on the American Film Institute’s 2003 list of Best Movie Villains.) Though best known for her role in “Oz,” the character actress, who died in 1985, had a busy career in film and on television. Bay Street describes the play as “surprising, fun, haunting and delightful.” Tickets start at $40 at

Lorna Luft to Host Recreation of Legendary Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall Concert In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Judy Garland’s death, the Axelrod Performing Arts Center, in collaboration with the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, presents Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall, on Sunday, June 23 at 7:00pm. The first recreation of a historic concert that’s been hailed as “the greatest night in show business history,” the event will be hosted by Garland’s daughter Lorna Luft, accompanied by a 40-piece orchestra conducted by Minnelli’s former musical director Michael Berkowitz. The concert is the brainchild of the Axelrod’s Artistic Director, Andrew DePrisco, and will feature four divas in addition to Miss Luft. “Judy Garland is the definitive musical icon, and no single lady could possibly hold the stage for two hours and do her justice,” says DePrisco. “So, we decided to hire five amazing singers…and 40 musicians.”


Oz in the News 6.1.19

Wallis Simpson’s note to Judy Garland written in style of Over The Rainbow The message was written in an amended version of the ballad Over The Rainbow, the song Garland famously sung in The Wizard of Oz. Sat at the table of New York restaurant The Colony alongside the then Duke of Windsor, Wallis wrote: ‘Somewhere up in the Plaza/ Way up high/ There’s a gal that we miss/ Oh me, oh my, oh my/ etc – etc – etc’. The note, on the headed notepaper of The Colony restaurant, was signed by her, the Duke of Windsor and their dining companions that night. The message reached Garland and was later referred to in her official biography that was published 20 years later.The movie star kept the note, that was written in 1955 – 19 years after Edward abdicated the throne to marry Wallis – in a memory book for years.

Ruby Rakos and her Yellow Brick Road dream: Tell Me Something Good For over five years, Ruby’s been working on “Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz,” a musical look at the early life of Judy Garland. Ruby was invited to Chittenango’s Oz-Stravaganza this year, after portraying Garland in two regional productions, this promotional video, and more table reads and workshops than you can imagine. “You know, I think we’ve tried to sit down and figure it out how many versions of the show I have in my head and it’s close to fifty,” she said. Before they started, the show’s creators locked up rights to the MGM film catalog that helped make Garland a star. They took the little known ‘Got a New Pair of Shoes’ from 1937 and re-purposed it to introduce the most famous new pair of shoes in film history … the ones Judy wore on the Yellow Brick Road.

Oz-Stravaganza Celebrates 41st Annual Festival in Chittenango “It’s been amazing, because I’ve been a fan since I was five and it was never supposed to become a career,” said Fricke. “But thanks to Frank Baum it is a career all over the world because everyone knows that story and those people.” Ruby Rakos, singer and actor, will be singing for the Oz-Stravaganza festival. Rakos has starred as Judy Garland in several productions of the musical “Chasing Rainbows: The Road of Oz”. “I read so many books about her early life and watched all her movies, and I listened to her sing and tried to copy what she does, and she was just the girl next door and so relatable and it’s amazing how, no matter how many hardships she faced in her life she was just so optimistic and joyful,” Rakos said.


Oz in the News 4.5.19

Musical developed by Rider professor on track for Broadway Watching Judy Garland sing “Over the Rainbow” as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz is a moment Adjunct Theatre Professor Tina Marie Casamento will never forget. Having lost her own mother at a young age, Casamento questioned where Dorothy’s mother was as she watched the film. She remembers finding comfort in the idea that Dorothy’s mother was somewhere over the rainbow too. The connection to the movie’s protagonist remained strong as Casamento fostered a growing interest in Garland’s life throughout her childhood and teenage years. This fascination led her to develop a concept that would eventually become the full-length musical Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz which is set to premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse on Sept. 26.

The ‘Perfectionists’ Season 1 Episode 4 Promo Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, the truth about Taylor Hotchkiss’ life is about to spill over. In the promo for April 10’s “The Ghost Sonata,” snippets related to Nolan’s mysterious sister continue to pop up. Ava (Sofia Carson) and Dylan (Eli Brown) appear to find an old copy of Ozma of Oz, a later addition to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz book series, that belonged to Taylor. Taylor crossed out the names of countries in the book’s map of Oz, replacing them with “Hotchkiss Land” and “McDevitts.” After Alison muses about whether Taylor ever found the Emerald City, she seemingly visits the cabin again, picking up another Oz book as something causes her to spin around and look behind her.


Oz in the News 3.29.18

Godzilla: King of the Monsters goes over the rainbow in new teaser Godzilla meets the spirit of Judy Garland in the new TV spot for Godzilla: King of the Monsters (out May 31) which finds images of King Ghidorah, Mothra, Rodan, and, of course, ‘Zilla himself soundtracked by “Over the Rainbow,” the song first performed by Garland in The Wizard of Oz. No news as to whether any of the sequences are set in Kansas. About five years have passed in the film since the events depicted in 2014’s Godzilla, which isn’t nearly enough time for people to stop freaking out about the discovery that they share the planet with you-know-who.

Oz in the News 3.11.19

Eighty years over the rainbow: how music transformed The Wizard of Oz into a cultural icon Songs from The Wizard of Oz are so powerful they have transformed the story into a cultural icon, according to researchers from the University of Sheffield. Eighty years since the release of the MGM film by Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen, the new research by Dr Dominic McHugh and former PhD student Dr Danielle Birkett from the University’s Department of Music highlights how songs from the beloved musical are being used by people today to help express themselves in times of need. The study, in collaboration with postdoctoral researcher Dr Hannah Robbins, emphasises the importance of the musical to the LGBT community. “Not only does MGM’s The Wizard of Oz appeal to all ages, it is one of only a few popular musical films that does not represent a heterosexual romance,” said Dr Robbins. She added: “At the heart of the story, Dorothy and her three companions discover that they do not need to change themselves to become who they want to be. This message coming after Judy Garland’s wistful performance of Over the Rainbow, a song about escaping to a place of safety, speaks to the fight for acceptance that continues to take place for the LGBT community today.”

Oz in the News 3.3.19

Heart, Courage, And A Brain: Dorchester Native Ray Bolger The Scarecrow In ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ The Scarecrow on the hunt for a brain in the 1939 classic “The Wizard of Oz” was played by Dorchester native Ray Bolger. His role as the Scarecrow captured the public’s imagination some 80 years ago but Bolger was a star in his own right with a career in theatre, movies, television, and dance that spanned over fifty years. So why don’t we know more about his start as a dancer on the streets of Boston?

Warwick Davis is off to see the Wizard! For one night only, join BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night Is Music Night and the BBC Concert Orchestra for a trip along the Yellow Brick Road to celebrate the beloved musical film The Wizard of Oz in its 80th anniversary year. Alongside the classic songs from the film such as Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Follow the Yellow Brick Road, the concert also features music from Wicked as well as the Michael Jackson and Diana Ross movie The Wiz – both inspired by Frank L. Baum’s original Oz stories. The incredible cast includes the Olivier Award-winning Rebecca Trehearn as Dorothy, singer-songwriter Joe Stilgoe as the Scarecrow, West End leads Hadley Fraser as the Tin Man and Trevor Dion Nicholas as the Cowardly Lion, and Sharon D. Clarke, fresh from her triumph in Caroline Or Change. Actor Warwick Davis, who has starred in Star Wars and Harry Potter, presents his first concert for BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night Is Music Night, while the sixty-piece BBC Concert Orchestra is conducted by Broadway maestro Larry Blank.