Category Archives: Oz Music

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.

 

Oz in the News 2.8.19

‘Wicked’ Movie Gets 2021 Holiday Season Release Date Universal Pictures has set its “Wicked” movie for the Christmas season with a release date of Dec. 22, 2021. Stephen Daldry will direct and Marc Platt will produce. The three-time Tony Award-winning stage musical was adapted from Gregory Maguire’s novel by Winnie Holzman and three-time Oscar-winning composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz, who are also collaborating on the screenplay adaptation. “Wicked” was produced on Broadway by Platt, Universal Stage Productions, the Araca Group, Jon B. Platt, and David Stone. The movie version will open five days after Fox launches its “Avatar 3” along with an untitled Disney live-action movie, and an untitled Warner Bros. animated feature. Universal had original slated “Wicked” to open during the 2019 holidays but decided instead to go with “Cats,” the big-screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s smash musical, on Dec. 20, 2019. The film adaptation of 2003’s “Wicked” is expected to include two new songs. Cast members have not yet been announced.

Oz in the News 1.11.19

Ruby Rakos, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Karen Mason, More Are Part of Chasing Rainbows Workshop An industry presentation of Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz, a new musical about the early life of Judy Garland, from her vaudeville sister act through her rise at MGM to win the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, is presented January 10 in New York City. Chasing Rainbows is the first stage, film, or television property about the life of Judy Garland to receive the endorsement of the Garland Estate. The musical utilizes tunes from the Sony Music/Feist Robbins catalog, including “Over the Rainbow,” “You Made Me Love You,” “Everybody Sing,” “In Between,” and “Dear Mr. Gable.” The production was conceived and created by actor, director, and teacher Tina Marie Casamento. Garland historian John Fricke, author of The Wizard of Oz: An Illustrated Companion to the Timeless Classic, is a consultant on the project.

Oz in the News 12.6.18

‘Wizard Of Oz,’ ‘Ben-Hur,’ ‘Shawshank,’ ‘Alien’ And ‘Field Of Dreams’ Headline TCM’s 2019 Classics The 14 movies returning the movie theaters as part of the 2019 TCM Big Screen Classics series have been revealed. The year-long event, in partnership with Fathom Events, gives film fans the chance to revisit, or enjoy for the first time, classic movies on the big screen. The first gem out of the gate in 2019 will be The Wizard of Oz. A critical success on its 1939 release, it actually didn’t make a profit for MGM until the 1949 re-release, earning only $3.02 million at the box office against a budget of $2.8 million – it was the most expensive production ever for the studio at the time. Thanks to various reissues, unadjusted for inflation, it has finally made $23.3 million. The Wizard of Oz will be in select theaters January 27, 29, and 30, 2019.

‘The Wizard of Oz’ secrets you probably haven’t heard “The Wizard of Oz” is still captivating viewers nearly 80 years since it first premiered in theaters. In fact, according to a recent research conducted worldwide, the classic musical has had the most impact in audiences than any other Hollywood masterpiece, including 1960’s “Psycho” and 1977’s “Star Wars.” Historians and collectors Jay Scarfone and William Stillman aren’t surprised by the findings. They’ve written several books on “The Wizard of Oz” and earlier this year they released “The Road to Oz,” which features interviews with several of those involved with the production of the 1939 film and surprising anecdotes from personal archives. The Oz experts spoke with Fox News about some of the surprising facts they found as they researched for their new book

Oz in the News 11.21.18

The Wiz Was So Much More Than a Failed Wizard of Oz BET recently televised The Wiz, and I indulged in a few jazzy minutes. It’s still special when I come across it, even though I have the DVD and can watch it whenever the desire takes hold. There’s still fresh joy in it; seeing the majestic Lena Horne descend from on high as Glinda the Good Witch will always make me feel like an awestruck 7-year-old. Play Stephanie Mills’ signature stage version or Diana Ross’ powerhouse rendition of “Home,” the epic ballad about a safe, soft place where there’s love overflowing, and the inside of my chest swells. Sometimes I even get teary—it reminds me, lyrically and personally, of my mama and my grandmother. I see the whole movie now in a way I couldn’t when I was a child. I still dance, I still sing, but I’m proud of the beauty of Blackness and the legacy of a movie that, like the people who created it, can’t help but be great.

Oz in the News 10.25.18

On its 40th anniversary, a look at how ‘The Wiz’ forever changed black culture Forty years after its original release, no film has uniquely defined black culture and shaped the framework of a musical genre quite like “The Wiz.” An adaptation of the groundbreaking Broadway musical — itself a retelling of L. Frank Baum’s classic 1900 children’s fantasy “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” that became the beloved Judy Garland movie — the Sidney Lumet-directed film had a rapturous soundtrack produced by Quincy Jones, a cast that included Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Lena Horne, Nipsey Russell, Mabel King and Richard Pryor and an aesthetic firmly rooted in black culture. For a generation of black Americans, this was the first time they saw people who spoke, sung and moved the way they did in a Broadway production and, later, a big-screen musical, and it has become a kind of rite of passage for the black community. Everyone remembers their first time experiencing “The Wiz.” If it’s the stage production, that likely came from performing it in high school or seeing a touring troupe tackle it, but the film is the most accessible entry into the all-black retelling of “The Wizard of Oz.” Many of us recall watching it with family during the holidays, huddled around the TV and singing the tunes.