Category Archives: Oz Music

Oz in the News 2.19.18

‘Wazir of Oz’ enchants and ensnares with a new twist on a classic tale Alumna Susan Gayle Todd is bringing the bedtime stories her husband told their children to life on stage. Written by Todd, “The Wazir of Oz” takes the classic narrative of “The Wizard of Oz,” and gives the production a Bollywood spin. “The Wazir of Oz,” is a collaborative effort between Todd and Austin-based Bollywood cover band Sacred Cowgirls. Pauravi Rana, the band’s keyboardist, said the music used for shows such as this one is taken from older Bollywood music and made appropriate for children’s theater. “The show feels a little bit like a musical, people are breaking out into dance and sometimes into song,” Rana said. “They sing for one of them from the stage, which is a real feat. We don’t play the whole time, but we try to reflect the mood of what’s going on with some of the pieces.” The cast of “The Wazir of Oz” is a South Asian majority. Todd said this was done to give the story authenticity, as well as provide an opportunity for children to learn about a culture they may not have been exposed to. The play also provides an opportunity for parents with Indian heritage to see themselves represented on stage, said Minnie Homchowdhury, who plays Pratima, the stone woman who believes herself heartless. Her role is analogous to the tin man in the original “Wizard of Oz,” whose only wish in the world is to have a heart.


Oz in the News 2.8.18

Review: THE PHANTOM OF OZ by Cindy Brown In the tradition of Brown’s previous ‘Ivyntures’, the book is a clever mash-up of stage classics. This time THE WIZARD OF OZ meets THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, with a dash of THE WOMAN IN WHITE thrown in for ghostly good measure. Could there be more familiar stage tropes than these classics? WIZARD is currently represented on Broadway by WICKED, while PHANTOM has just entered its third decade on the Great White Way. Both are rooted in century old fantasy fiction, so it is fitting that Brown returns them to the page – with her own Phoenician flair, of course. Oz was a green planet and Dorothy’s house had been pulled into space through some tornado time warp. The Cowardly Lion looked like a Wookie, the Scarecrow had a sort of big-headed E.T. quality, the Tin Man was based on Marvin, the depressed robot from THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, and the Darryl Hannah replicant character from BLADE RUNNER inspired the look for both the Wicked Witches. Glinda was costumed like one of the babes Captain Kirk was always kissing on the original STAR TREK, and the Wizard wasn’t a cast member at all, just a projection.”

The Dressing Room Podcast In this episode, Tom chats to Jemma Rix – currently starring as “The Wicked Witch of The West” in The Wizard Of Oz, touring all around Australia! Find out how it’s different playing The Wicked Witch in Wizard, Versus Elphaba in Wicked [she’s done both!] 

Oz in the News 12.31.18

Kat Cunning Spins A Queer Narrative In Her First Music Video “I’m queer, and the song itself is — I mean, it’s loosely based on Wizard of Oz, which I’ve been obsessed with since I was as young as I can remember. And then, growing up, coming into my own and realizing I was gay, it was a funny realization that The Wizard of Oz is also actually such an emblem for the gay community. It’s ‘Over the Rainbow,’ Dorothy, Judy Garland — it’s like a poster story for gay people finding themselves. In a way, this song was a version of The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy doesn’t come home. Like that ending monologue, when she’s like, ‘And you were there, and you were there! But it couldn’t have been you, could you?’ I saw that as kind of a bummer. She literally goes back to a world made of black and white after you’ve seen — at the time — one of the first color films, ever. She has so many adventures, and for me that story is akin to finding your community of people and particularly a colorful queer world full of beautiful freaks. For me, that’s what the song is about — finding that family.”

Oz in the News 1.27.18

Book a Trip to See Literary Maps Should your travels bring you to Cambridge, Massachusetts, this spring, chart a path toward Harvard’s Houghton Library, where Landmarks: Maps as Literary Illustration opened last week. Curated by Peter X. Accardo, the exhibition showcases sixty literary maps that bring to life such imagined places as More’s Utopia and Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood. Included is Professor Wogglebug’s Map of the Marvelous Land of Oz, attributed to L. Frank Baum. From: L. Frank Baum, Tik-Tok of Oz (Chicago, 1914). “This first printed map of the Marvelous Land of Oz presents its four counties in their official colors, but reverses the position of Munchkin and Winkie Counties. The inconsistency is also reflected by the map’s compass points, where East unusually is to the West, and West is to the East.” Credit: Houghton Library, Typ 970.14.1955 – Presented in honor of Dennis C. Marnon, 2018.

Alumni bring Oz collection to Fort Hays State Fort Hays State University alumni Larry and Lyn Fenwick, Macksville, are sharing their collection of Wizard of Oz artifacts with the Hays community. The Fenwick Oz Collection is now available for viewing through Friday, March 16, on the main floor of Fort Hays State University’s Forsyth Library. The collection features rare and unique Wizard of Oz artifacts that match author L. Frank Baum’s vision for the land of Oz and that explore details of the well-loved Kansas story. Characters displayed in the collection are consistent with descriptions given in the book and honor Baum’s original ideas. An exhibit viewing and reception will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, in Forsyth Library. The Fenwicks will present briefly at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Garland in Word and Song Opens Tonight at the Willow Theatre When Judy Garland stepped out onto the stage at Carnegie Hall on April 23, 1961, the raucous standing ovation that greeted her was just the start of what has been called “the greatest night in show business history.” Actress/singer Jody Briskey portrays Garland and recreates that night’s iconic performance at The Willow Theatre at Sugar Sand Park in Boca Raton, Florida, January 26 – February 11, 2018.

Oz in the News 1.20.18

Performance to celebrate brilliant composer who took fans ‘Over The Rainbow’ Arlen classics: “Over the Rainbow,” “Stormy Weather,” “Get Happy,” “The Man That Got Away,” “Paper Moon,” “Blues in the Night” “One For My Baby (And One More For the Road)” “That Old Black Magic” “I Love A Parade,” “Come Rain or Come Shine” and many more will be performed by an all-star cast of Villagers at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23 in Savannah Center. It’s called “Journey Over the Rainbow” and features: Carolyn Hoffman, Bill Davis, Billie Thatcher, Janice Swartz, The Skipper, Bonnie Williams, Frank Ardino, Phil Caltabellotta, Janet Maloney and Bill Krone. The Kevin O’Connell Band will provide the live musical backing for the event, which is directed by Barry Corlew and produced by Susan Feinberg and Carolyn Hoffman. Part of the proceeds will benefit The Jewish War Veterans Judith A Resnik Post 352 of the TriCounty Area, and Villagers for Veterans. The show is set during the time of the movie premier of the “Wizard of Oz.”

Oz in the News 1.17.18

Why Did The Good Place Hide So Many Wizard of Oz References in Last Week’s Episode? A decade ago, Lost fans went a little batty with Oz-related theorizing, guessing that the show would end with a twist ripped straight from L. Frank Baum and the Yellow Brick Road. Very few of those bets paid off. Still, because Schur is a Lost fan himself, and because The Good Place has made a habit of springing its own “everything you know is wrong” surprises, it wouldn’t be completely out of line to think that the Wizard of Oz parallels in “Best Self” are some kind of larger clue to where the show might be headed. Like: Will Eleanor Shellstrop wake up in the series finale and find herself back in Arizona, living around people who look like Janet, Chidi, Jason, Michael, and Tahani? While we break out the scratch paper to get busy postulating, here’s a handy reminder of just how Wizard of Oz–like “Best Self” actually is. Some of these references are overt, some more subtle, and some, to be honest, probably unintentional. They’re all collected from the vaguest Oz nod to the strongest.

UMS Adds Free Performance And Livestream To U.S. Premiere Of FK Alexander’s OVER THE RAINBOW The University Musical Society (UMS) of the University of Michigan will add a free performance of Glasgow-based performance artist FK Alexander’s (I Could Go On Singing) Over the Rainbow on Monday, January 29, 2018 at 7 pm. This special performance, which will last about an hour, will be streamed at and via Facebook Live at Tickets for the free, in-person experience will be distributed via lottery at UMS will also host a livestream viewing party at Light Box Performance Space in Detroit (8641 Linwood Street). Admission to the viewing party is free and open to the public. FK Alexander’s sonically immersive production of (I Could Go On Singing) Over the Rainbow will run from Friday, January 26 through Saturday, February 3 in the Stamps Gallery in downtown Ann Arbor (201 S. Division Street). The production receives its U.S. premiere with these performances and is not currently scheduled to be seen anywhere else in the country this year.

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.