Category Archives: Oz Music

Oz in the News 8.17.18

Somewhere Over the Go-Go One evening about four years ago, Lovail Long and his bunkmate, Salahuddin Mahdi, were working to develop a writing project about their hometown when the 1978 film The Wizcame on TV. “A light bulb came off, and within an hour, we started putting things together,” says Long. And that is how the new musical The Giz, a go-go adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, came to be. Excited by the possibilities, Long recalls, he called his old friend, Backyard Band leader Anwan “Big G” Glover, and with Big G’s encouragement, Long and Mahdi decided to move forward with the venture. The Giz will be performed on August 19 at the MGM National Harbor; Long plans to take it on the road and eventually mount a longer local run. Its ruby red slippers planted firmly in the DMV, The Giz celebrates go-go culture with a cast that features several of the music’s luminaries, including EU’s Gregory “Sugar Bear” Elliott as The Giz, a role originally written for Chuck Brown. Despite its title, The Giz was inspired more by Victor Fleming’s 1939 The Wizard of Ozfilm than by any productions of The Wiz. The new musical relates the adventure of 18-year-old Dottie, who lives in North Carolina with her maternal grandparents and yearns to attend Howard University. Dottie, who just might be Chuck Brown’s daughter, is taking out the trash when a well-timed storm whisks her away to Munchkin Land, right by the D.C. border of Prince George’s County.

Oz in the News 7.27.18

THE WIZARD OF OZ AND A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WITCH HAT When L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz was published in 1900, the accompanying illustrations by W.W. Denslow included the Wicked Witch of the West wearing a tall conical hat. This followed the trend of Victorian fairy tale imagery depicting witches wearing this kind of garb. Before, witches were just part of a story to scare children, and there was a very real fear among adults of these supernatural beings. In The Witches, Stacy Schiff notes that “Between 1580 and 1680, England, Scotland and Wales dispensed with no fewer than four thousand witches.” What these witches look like does vary, but there is evidence of the conical hat as an accessory as early as 1600 in this illustration of accused English witch Jane Scrimshaw.

Watch Monica Lewinsky Sing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ At a Gay Bar Monica Lewinsky celebrated her birthday the best way a person can: surrounded by gays. Lewinsky was at Alan Cumming’s NYC gay bar Club Cumming on her birthday this week and treated the crowd to a special performance. Lewinsky sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from the Wizard of Oz with piano accompaniment. The performance was captured by an audience member and is honestly adorable.

Oz in the News 7.15.18

Watch Jackie Burns and Casey Cott Mash Up 2 Wicked Tunes in Latest ‘Out of Oz’ Music Video Burns concludes her acclaimed run as Broadway’s Elphaba July 14 (she will be succeeded by Jessica Vosk beginning July 16 at the Gershwin Theatre). Cott is best known for his work in TV’s Riverdale. The video series launched with Rachel Tucker and Aaron Tveit performing a stripped-down version of “Defying Gravity.” Subsequent editions have featured original stars Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, Tony winner and former Glinda Annaleigh Ashford, and country star and noted Wicked fan Jennifer Nettles.

Oz in the News 6.13.18

Woodstock Chimes goes ‘Over the Rainbow’ Musically tuned windchime manufacturer Woodstock Chimes’ latest creation takes inspiration from “The Wizard of Oz.” Its latest chime is tuned to the opening notes of one of the most iconic songs of the 20th century, the Academy Award-winning ballad “Over the Rainbow” from the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz.” Composed by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Yip Harburg, the ballad Judy Garland popularized reminds us that “somewhere over the rainbow … dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.” The Over the Rainbow Chime’s removable windcatcher has a rainbow image to exemplify the song. The chime is also one of the first Woodstock Chimes with a second hangtag designed to call attention to the significance of the tuning, so shoppers can understand at a glance what differentiates the chime from others. Measuring 27 inches in overall length, the Over the Rainbow Chime features seven silver aluminum tubes and cherry finish ash wood. Listen to and order a set here.

The 2018 Wizard Of Oz Festival Opens With A Variety Of Events This year, the 2018 Wizard of Oz Festival will host an exciting variety of programs. From Thursday, June 14 through Sunday, June 17, there will be live performances, lectures, movies, dinners and a free Land of Oz event for children.  For more information,
call the Judy Garland Museum at 218-327-9276;
or visit their website:; or


Oz in the News 5.31.18

Hidden Treasures from THE WIZARD OF OZ, JAWS, GIGI, & More Featured in ICONS & LEGENDS OF HOLLYWOOD Auction Profiles in History is proud to announce all the nostalgic hidden treasures in their upcoming Icons & Legends of Hollywood Auction. The auction is set for June 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th in Los Angeles. Emerald City green townsman jacket from The Wizard of Oz. Estimated to sell for $12,000 – $15,000. 

Broadway Legend Stephen Schwartz Comes to CNY for Oz-Stravaganza Stephen Schwartz, the mastermind behind the music and lyrics for the Broadway hit Wicked, will be coming to Central New York this weekend to discuss some of his most “Popular” songs. Schwartz is one of many special guests that will be at the 41st Oz-Stravaganza this year. The theme for this year’s festival is Broadway Comes to Oz, and Schwartz along with many of the other guests have ties to Wicked.

Dorothy’s $6 million ruby slippers from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ are the most expensive piece of pop culture ever Dorothy’s ruby slippers from”The Wizard of Oz” are looking for a new home. Actress Judy Garland wore the shoes in the 1939 film and they’re now on sale by Moments In Time for $6 million. The slippers had previously been on exhibit at Disney World for over a decade. Several other pairs of the slippers exist, including a pair that was stolen in 2005 and never found. The authentication document for the $6 million pair says the shoes are “rimmed in 46 rhinestones, surrounding 42 bugle beads and the three larger (rectangular) jewels centered in a line.”

I Was A Teenage Scarecrow Prior to the grand reopening of The Land of Oz in May of 1977, my 19-year-old-self was hired to embark on a novel tour where I would portray the Scarecrow and put on a puppet show in shopping mall courtyards located anywhere within a three-hour radius of the park. Only two actors were needed to set up and go, so I enlisted a classmate from Catawba College, Cyndi Rorie, for the role of Dorothy. In that signature flouncy pinafore, ruby slippers and ponytailed black wig, a more quintessential Dorothy there will never be. Children’s eyes were bedazzled at the sight of her. The musical program, puppets, and set were created by Jerry Halliday who went on to Las Vegas fame with a, “Wickedly Inappropriate Adult Puppet Show.” For rehearsals, they booked Cyndi, myself and Jerry into a grand hotel where we were the only guests. State law was if a hotel was open, their restaurant had to be as well. So a retinue arrived every morning just to serve the three of us for the few days we were there.

Edward W. Hardy Presents A Musical Evening Of Works Composed For The Theatre This Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 7pm virtuoso violinist and EtM Con Edison Composer-in-Residence Edward W. Hardy will be performing a mixture of musical genres with original music inspired by the writings of Edgar Allan Poe and L. Frank Baum along with other premieres and arrangements of Hardy’s works all for free at the Turtle Bay Music School’s Concert Hall. Hardy is one of the youngest composers to ever be accepted into the Exploring the Metropolis Con Edison Composer Residency and is one of the most prominent composer/ violinists of solo violin repertoire for theatrical productions in New York City.

Poof! Brentwood haunt of Glinda the Good Witch goes for well over asking The longtime Brentwood home of early film star Billie Burke, who played Glinda the Good Witch of the North in “The Wizard of Oz,” has sold for $3.511 million, or $516,000 over the asking price. Burke was the original owner of the two-story house, which displays elements of Traditional and Country French architecture, and lived there for roughly three decades. Following her death in 1970, the property was passed down to relatives and remained in her family for about four more decades. Built in 1938, the home features original hardwood floors, wood-paned windows and an updated kitchen. A grand entry with an artistic staircase, a formal dining room, four bedrooms and five bathrooms. There are fireplaces in the family and living rooms and the master suite.

Oz in the News 5.25.18

That’s just Oz-some Lyn and Larry Fenwick’s Wizard of Oz collection is now on display at the Pratt County Historical Society Museum. Dorothy and Toto have landed again but this time it’s not in Oz, its at the Pratt County Historical Society Museum in a special Wizard of Oz display provided by collectors Larry and Lyn Fenwick. The display is open now and the public is encouraged to come visit the museum and see this new Kansas related display. The display includes dolls Lyn made that are “book correct” meaning they are accurate to the description in L. Frank Baum’s books. The dolls represent Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion. In the famous movie released in 1939 starring Judy Garland as Dorothy, the MGM studio changed Dorothy’s slippers from the original silver to red. The movie was being made in Technicolor and the studio wanted the shoes to stand out more on the screen. Lyn’s version of Dorothy remains true with her wearing silver slippers. Dorothy wears a pink sun bonnet, is wearing a blue and white gingham dress, has a basket with linen cloth to hold a loaf of bread and a key to lock the house. The Tin Man is designed to look like it is made of parts from a hardware store, the Lion has flowers to show his gentle side and the Scarecrow is dressed in blue with boots of a Munchkin farmer, a tall pointed hat with bells around the brim and his head is a sack. Lyn took a liberty with Scarecrows head and painted Hudson Creme Flour on the back of the sack. Other items in the collection include a Tin Man made out of tin cans, a Wizard of Oz Chess set, Oz main characters made of wheat straw by artist DeAnn Stephens, music boxes, Oz books and book- ends created for the Smithsonian Museum and much more.

Talking Pictures: Jeff Rapsis: Interpreting the silents Talking Pictures travels to Brandon to see the 1925 version of “Wizard of Oz,” accompanied by Jeff Rapsis of Bedford, New Hampshire, who has been coming for eight years now to Brandon to present these silent movies as they originally were intended to be seen, with live musical accompaniment, played before a live audience. Rapsis says, “It’s the audience that makes the experience. you can have the film. You can have the music. But if you don’t have an audience, you miss out on the real magic of the experience.” This “Wizard of Oz,” directed by and starring the nearly forgotten silent film comedy star Larry Semon. Semon and serial collaborator Oliver Hardy, before he famously partnered with Stan Laurel, wades into different territory than the more familiar 1939 Technicolor version with Judy Garland. In this week’s Talking Pictures video, above, you can see and hear Jeff Rapsis tell the story.

Inspirational Vision Media Relays Update From J/V Partner Dr. Pavan Grover to Shareholders on Status of Their 9 Book Series Legends of Oz by Roger S. Baum “Dr. Grover is doing a wonderful job developing the scripts and production bible for the nine books in our “Legends of Oz” series,” said IVM’s CEO Steven Previch. “His passion for sharing the magic of Oz with future generations is felt throughout the project, which has led to his recent discussions with an interested Netflix. We believe “Legends of Oz” can provide “Wizard of Oz” fans old and new, a memorable trip down the Yellow Brick Road.” “With the Legends of Oz, I am creating my vision of a transcendent reimaging of Oz,” added Doctor Grover. “At its heart the “Wizard of Oz” is an epic American adventure fable about believing in yourself and the importance of family. I want to capture the emotion and enchantment we first felt when we read the book as children. I promise you it will be like nothing you have ever seen. “Legends of Oz” will be a visual masterpiece and an emotional roller coaster ride that will be an addictive binge-watching juggernaut that could change the way you look at the world and all its possibilities.”

Oz in the News 5.17.18

Stephen Schwartz To Perform Songs From Wicked At Oz-stravaganza It was confirmed this week that Stephen Schwartz, composer/lyricist of WICKED, has added music to his personal appearance at the annual OZ-Stravaganza! WIZARD OF OZ Festival in Chittenango, NY, on Saturday, June 2nd. His on-stage, free-to-the-public interview was announced earlier this month, but Mr. Schwartz has now offered to perform songs from the score of WICKED during that presentation. Schwartz, a three-time “Oscar” and four-time “Grammy” Award winner, will appear as the headliner of the 6:30 p.m. event at Chittenango High School, 150 Genesee Street. (Doors open at 6:15.) WICKED has long since achieved legendary status as one of Broadway’s all-time, record-breaking musical productions and celebrates its fifteenth anniversary this year. Two of the Broadway stars of WICKED, Tiffany Haas(“Glinda”) and Michael McCorry Rose (“Fiyero”), will also take part in the June 2nd program. They’ll be interviewed together about their Ozian theatrical experiences and then later appear with Mr. Schwartz, as well. Emmy Award-winning producer, best-selling author, and Oz historian John Fricke moderates the Saturday evening showcase. Mr. Schwartz will also offer a meet-and-greet/autograph session on Sunday, June 3rd, from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at Chittenango’s All Things Oz Museum & Gift Shop, 219 Genesee Street, (315) 333-2286. The public is encouraged to arrive early, as space is limited, and the session time cannot be extended.

Ding dong the witch is dead – twice? Silent film composer Jeff Rapsis is beginning the eighth season of his silent film series with “The Wizard of Oz.” Not the Judy Garland one. The 1925 version with a silent – and very different take – on L. Frank Baum’s series of novels, which both movies were loosely based on. Rapsis will be screening the movie at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at Brandon Town Hall and Community Center. “This version of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ doesn’t get shown very often,” Rapsis said last week. “People generally aren’t aware of it. It’s such a curiosity now that it makes it worth showing because ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is something everybody knows. It’s one of these forgotten things that I think are a lot of fun to dust off.” Rapsis says older films like these might seem like the primitive ancestors to movies today, but he wants to give viewers the experience of going to the movies during the time these films came out – like a time machine set to 1925. “If you put it all back together with a theater, a big screen, a restored film, and live music (it weaves) that spell that a good silent movie will cast if everything is working the way it should,” he said. It won’t feature songs like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” because there was no soundtrack to the 1925 film, but that’s where Rapsis shines – with his one-of-a-kind score composed completely by instinct. “I sit down and play for an hour and a half and lose myself,” he said. “It would be nothing anyone would have ever heard before and I could probably never repeat it. None of it is planned out. I don’t have any sheet music.”