Category Archives: Oz Music

Oz in the News 4.23.17

Go Behind The Scenes Of Judy Garland Musical JUDY! A series of three short documentaries are being released prior to the official opening of the poignant biographical musical Judy!.Charting the turbulent life of acclaimed chanteuse Judy Garland, the show opens this May at the Arts Theatre in London’s West End. With narration by musical theatre legend Elaine Paige, and interviews hosted by leading theatre critic Mark Shenton, the documentaries follow the show’s journey from a 60-seat theatre in Fulham to the Arts Theatre, as well as exploring the design process and providing cast interviews. Writer and director Ray Rackham said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been given the opportunity to explore the journey of the play. It really has been a dream come true, taking the show – and almost all of the cast who originated the roles – from the studio space at London Theatre Workshop in December 2015 to the Arts Theatre, West End, in May 2017. I’m so grateful to Elaine and Mark for being part of this process.”

Oz in the News 4.11.17

Filmation’s “Journey Back to Oz” (1974) on Record How does the soundtrack to Filmation’s seminal animated feature connect with Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack, Astro Boy, a Congo airline and a plate of bad shrimp? Journey was only shown in eleven theaters between 1974 and 1975, using the “four wall” system of self-distribution that made millions for such low-budget films as Billy Jack and The Adventures of the Wilderness Family. The initial box office results for Journey Back To Oz were disappointing. In 1980, Texize sponsored a TV broadcast of the film, hosted by Milton Berle. Texize made the soundtrack album available as a premium. The LP is described as a “Musical Story Album” on the cover, but the disc contains songs, music and short dialogue excerpts rather than a complete narrative.

Oz in the News 4.4.17

‘Lost in Oz: Extended Adventure’ Snags Five Daytime Emmy Nominations Tokyo-based Polygon Pictures announced that its animated feature Lost in Oz: Extended Adventure has received five nominations for the 44th annual Daytime Emmy Awards, including outstanding children’s animated program, outstanding casting for an animated series or special, outstanding writing in an animated program, outstanding sound mixing – animation and outstanding sound editing – animation. Lost in Oz: Extended Adventure is a special feature from the Lost In Oz original animated series by Amazon Prime Video and the Bureau of Magic, which was released on Dec. 2, 2016, on Amazon Prime Video.

Todrick Hall on his new Tour, RuPaul, and, of Course, The Wizard of Oz “I wanted to tell the story of my life. I was a kid who grew up different in Texas, much like Dorothy feels in Kansas. She wanted to go somewhere else. But in life we often feel like we need other people, even in relationships or in business, we think we need other people to give us permission to do things instead of taking matters into our own hands. I’m not gonna wait for some wizard, who doesn’t really have the power to help me anyway, to give me what I need when I can get it myself. That’s basically what I’ve done my whole career on YouTube, but for some reason it didn’t apply to recording music. I wanted to move to L.A. to become a recording artist, but everyone said no to me. “You’re not going to be able to chart on the pop charts.” I don’t have a record deal or whatever. But I put my song out that I self-produced on iTunes and now RuPaul and I are in the top 20 of the pop charts. We’re the number 4 top album today.”

Oz in the News 3.29.17

National Recording Registry Picks Are “Over the Rainbow”  Judy Garland’s hit single “Over The Rainbow”; the original-cast album of “The Wiz”; the rap group N.W.A’s seminal album, “Straight Outta Compton”; the Eagles’ 1976 “Their Greatest Hits”; and the national anthem of black America have been designated as aural treasures worthy of preservation as part of America’s patrimony. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today named these recordings and 20 other titles to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress because of their cultural, artistic and historical importance to American society and the nation’s audio heritage. One of the best-known ballads of all time, “Over the Rainbow,” from the classic American fantasy film “The Wizard of Oz,” expresses a poignant yearning for escape as sung by the film’s young star, Judy Garland.  “Over the Rainbow” became an anthem for Garland, a song she cherished throughout her life as her favorite.  “It represents everyone’s wondering why things can’t be a little better,” she said in a 1967 interview, two years before her death. Lyricist E. Y. “Yip” Harburg settled on the image of the rainbow as the “only colorful thing that she’s [the Garland character] ever seen in her life,” he recalled, and created a symbol of hope that also became a reason for the film’s creators to shift its cinematography from sepia tones to Technicolor once Dorothy landed in the Land of Oz. Garland credited the song’s “childlike, wistful quality” to its composer, Harold Arlen.  The song won an Academy Award, and the 1939 Decca recording by Garland—released a few weeks after the film’s premiere—with accompaniment by Victor Young and his orchestra, became a best-seller.

Oz in the News 3.12.17

OVER THE CHASE-BOW Come Sing and Dance for Comic Relief blown away by smash Wizard of Oz performance by the chasers from The Chase VIEWERS of Let’s Sing and Dance for Comic Relief were blown away when the stars of The Chase gave the performance of the night. Hyper intelligent general knowledge quiz masters Mark Labbett (aka The Beast), Anne Hegerty (otherwise known as The Governess), Shaun Wallace (aka The Dark Destroyer) and Jenny Ryan (code name The Vixen) went over the rainbow for a Wizard of Oz performance. Jenny kicked off their performance channelling her inner Judy Garland as she sang a note perfect rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow dressed as Dorothy Gale. She was joined Anne who dressed as the Scarecrow, while Mark got wild to dress up as the cowardly lion, and Shaun provided some shiny excellence as the Tin Man.

Oz in the News 2.21.17

kansascollection_thekey4New Immersive Play Makes You Pick A Side In The Battle For Oz Speakeasy Society’s The Kansas Collection takes place after Dorothy’s departure and focuses on the unrest that grips Oz now that the Wizard has been exposed for a fraud. The Scarecrow and his camp are firmly anti-magic, believing the smoke and mirrors that surrounded the disgraced wizard are the root of Oz’s strife. Unfortunately, this means the new regime has also cracked down on good magic, which, as you recall, was a key element of the witches of the north and south. The audience is left to learn about each faction jockeying for power, and to choose whom they will pledge their allegiance. It can be confusing at times, and there seem to be multiple points at which one can decide to be a double agent. Adding to the disarray is the fact that time flows differently in Oz, meaning you might not be able to trust when you are, let alone who you are with. If starring in your own cloak and dagger, fantastical spy movie sounds appealing to you, you might want to jump on The Kansas Collection before the story progresses too far. Each show lasts about 15 to 20 minutes, but offers space to hang out, socialize, have a glass of wine, and glean information from other guests, who may be on a different path than your own. At $15 a ticket, it’s a deal. If you’re just getting started, you can do a few things. You can read this spoiler-filled recap of The Key here, though this account is only one possible track. If you go, you may have a different outcome. Or, you can wait for Speakeasy Society to re-stage The Key and The Axe, which they are planning to do in March. Get tickets here, or follow them on Twitter for the latest updates here.

What song did John F Kennedy ask Judy Garland to sing to him on the phone? A new memoir by “The Wizard of Oz” star’s third husband Sid Luft, which was crafted from notes Luft left unfinished before he died in 2005, tells how Garland was introduced to JFK by Peter Lawford and his wife Patricia, Kennedy’s younger sister, when Kennedy was a junior senator from Massachusetts. “JFK was young, lanky and extremely outgoing,” writes Luft in “Judy and I: My Life with Judy Garland.” “He asked Peter and Pat to introduce him to ‘Dorothy’ in the flesh.” Garland and Kennedy struck up a friendship, and as Luft wrote: “In the coming years, JFK would ring Judy from either the White House or Camp David and ask her to sing to him over the telephone.” “He’d request ‘Over the Rainbow,’” continued Luft. “Judy was located somewhere in New York and obliged the President with several renditions of his favorite melodies.”

Oz in the News 2.13.17

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REVIEW: ‘Dorothy and the Prince of Oz’ by Tulsa Ballet Three years and $1 million in the making, “Dorothy and the Prince of Oz” more than delivers on the magic. Visually, this is a stunning, almost overwhelming, thing to watch unfold, with Basil Twist’s dynamic, animated sets and puppets that fully evoke some amazing places and things, highlighted by Daniel Brodie’s inventive projections and Les Dickert’s sensitive and dramatic lighting. Mark Zappone’s costume’s are as colorful as pocketful of gemstones, and the score assembled by Oliver Peter Graber, mixing pieces by Glazunov, Bartok, Ravel, Grieg, Scriabin and others and tied together with Graber’s original compositions, was in spite of its patchwork nature, richly dramatic and cohesive. Choreographer Edwaard Liang, who created Tulsa Ballet’s new production of “Romeo and Juliet” in 2012, worked with Graber to devise an original story for “Dorothy and Prince of Oz,” inspired by sections of Baum’s final Oz book, “Glinda of Oz,” and his choreography tells this fairly complex tale clearly and concisely, crowned by a series of duets that are as incredibly demanding as they are emotionally expressive.