Category Archives: Oz Theatre

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.

Oz in the News 2.8.17

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Tulsa Ballet presents the premiere of ‘Dorothy and the Prince of Oz’ The production, budgeted at $1 million, features a set design and puppetry by MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Basil Twist, costumes by noted designer Mark Zappone, and a score arranged by internationally known composer Oliver Peter Graber that combines music of Alexander Glazunov’s “The Seasons” with Graber’s composition. It also tells an original story inspired by the world created by L. Frank Baum in the 14 books he wrote that began with “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” which Liang and Graber crafted from elements of the final book in the series, “Glinda of Oz.” The plot of “Glinda of Oz” centers around a war between two factions in a far-off region of the Land of Oz, and how Dorothy Gale, the heroine of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and most of the other books in the series, is tasked with resolving the conflict. The only problem, said Angelini, “is that the book is all about the war. There is no love story, and without love there is no ballet. So Edwaard and Oliver brought in what I think is a compelling love story that makes a real impact.”

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Jersey City for the ‘Wizard of Oz’ The Yellow Brick Road leads to Jersey City on Sunday when Puppetworks brings “The Wizard of Oz” to Merseles Studios for a months-long run. “The Wizard of Oz has always fascinated me, even as a kid,” said Olga Levina, artistic director of Jersey City Theater Center. “I read many of the Oz books growing up, and even saw theater productions, before I even saw the famous movie. Dorothy goes on a quest to find the Wizard and she discovers the value of her friendship with the cowardly Lion, Straw Man and Tin Man and they all learn to rely on their own inner strengths. This is children’s theater that teaches kindness, telling a story through exploration and self-growth, where important life lessons are realized.” Special “Marionette” effects include a tornado that transports the story’s heroine from her home over the rainbow to Oz, a monkey that flies and a melting witch, and a hot air balloon ride.

Feminism, decapitation, and talking jigsaw puzzles: the wonderfully weird world of Oz creator L Frank Baum This week Emerald City, a stylised retelling of The Wizard of Oz, arrives on British TV. In the US its disturbing imagery – cruxifixitions, hands covered in jewel-like boils, a Wicked Witch of the West who “vomits” spells – has already led to the show being called the most insane version of Oz yet. But how could Emerald City possibly be stranger than Wizard of Oz author L Frank Baum (1856-1919) and the even stranger world he created in his much-loved children’s books? Let us count the ways…

Oz in the News 2.2.17

elements-of-ozElements of Oz: Producing Live Video and Interactive Theater “One of the initial inspirations for the app was creating an analog for the escapist nature of “Oz” in the devices we carry with us to escape reality on a daily basis. We also were interested in what the contemporary equivalent of Technicolor would be — and that’s where we think AR fit. The app has two basic modes — one for outside the show, and one for during the performance. If the user isn’t at the show, it provides some information about the show and has some basic AR effects — a storm (to precede the cyclone) and a few simple target-based augmentations that can be used with images from the original book’s illustrations. Once the audience comes to the show, we switch the phones into what we called “active” mode, which allowed us to trigger events based on the action on stage. The phones were connected to a single cueing server on the network, which allowed us to synchronize the behavior for the entire audience. At various times, we’d play video (like our “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” YouTube chorus) and audio clips or send text and images. In several key scenes, we would trigger augmented reality scenes, layering over the view of the stage with CG elements, like a tornado, blossoming poppies, flying monkeys, etc. It allowed us to create visual elements all around the viewer, too, not just between the viewer and the performers.”

The wizard of Emerald City “I was filming Magnificent 7 and I heard that Tarsem was doing Emerald City and was going to direct all ten episodes. So I asked right away: “Is The Wizard cast?”  They said “no” and so I immediately called my agent. ‘Get Tarsem on the phone. I want to play to The Wizard. If he’ll let me, I want to play it.’”

Musical wizard Todrick Hall heads to Oz Broadway star and newly minted RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Todrick Hall is heading to Australia with his Straight Outta Oz tour this June. Don’t miss this incredible talent at The Astor Theatre on Thursday 1st June. Tickets on sale from Tuesday 7th February at wearenice.com.au

Lions And Tigers And Bears? Meh. These 5 Scenes From ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ Are Still Creepy The Wizard of Oz has been a personal film favorite since I first saw it at the age of four. It is absolutely timeless, one hell of a production, and it still blows my mind to think that this movie came out in 1939. It’s the weird and #scary scenes that always intrigued me the most, along with the fantastic set pieces, storytelling, singing and dancing. But there are five #WizardofOz scenes in particular that are most memorable because of the oddness and fear they induced.

Oz in the News 1.4.17

407a946a9cd8ff9197827a7d9d186913This ‘Wizard of Oz’ Experience Beams Dorothy to Your Smartphone Theater, that seemingly-traditional artform, gets a modern twist with the introduction of augmented reality technology, which turns the passive audience experience into an interactive one. Elements of Oz, a tech-driven celebration of the classic escapist film The Wizard of Oz, uses smartphones to deconstruct and revel in the enduring popularity of the iconic story. Created by New York-based intermedia ensemble The Builders Association, Elements of Oz reenacts Dorothy’s journey through a mixture of IRL and digital tools, like live performance, a custom-designed app enabling engaging visual overlays, and a virtual YouTube chorus that sings Wizard of Oz classics. Directed by Builders Association Artistic Director Marianne Weems and co-created and written by James Gibbs and Moe Angelos, Elements of Oz dazzled audiences at 3LD Art & Technology Center, a hub for tech-driven live performance. The Elements of Oz online experience begins the moment audience members decide to attend. “We asked ticket buyers to download [the Elements of Oz app] when they first purchased a ticket, and then they got a follow-up reminder closer to the date of the performance,” Weems says. The show app is available on iPhone and Android.

Vincent D’Onofrio on His “Complicated” Wizard in ‘Emerald City’ and the Return of Wilson Fisk “It was terrible! It was like some seagulls found my head and while I was asleep, they made a nest. Some dirty seagulls from Venice Beach. I kept thinking about these British actors in the ‘70s. I watched tapes of them on YouTube doing Shakespeare and they all had these ridiculous wigs that looked like helmets. I thought this guy really just needs to be someone he’s not, and it’s not like they have a wig guy in Oz. He wouldn’t be able to bring the best wig guy to Emerald City to fit The Wizard, so it had to look like a bad wig that fell out of a window and hit him in the head. There were a couple of days where I actually wore a bald cap, a wig on top of the bald cap that was supposed to be The Wizard’s real hair, and then a wig on top of that.”

Director Tarsem Singh, Star Vincent D’onofrio Map The Winding Road To Magical Emerald City’s Premiere The series adds emphasis to the technological prowess of the great and powerful Oz, here played by Vincent D’Onofrio as “The Wizard” — he is a modern man who tames a magical realm with science. But, like the humbug Wizard of the original novel and actor Frank Morgan’s Wizard in the famous film, he has secrets, too — secrets that Singh said he could only entrust to D’Onofrio to reveal. “Truly, when I went in and they asked me, I just said that there is only one person that can do opera, theatrical, big grandness, and become pathetic whining person at the same time. There’s only one guy, and it had to be him,” Singh said. “When I looked at this, I just said, ‘This is by definition, it’s a fraud. It’s a security guard who thinks, ‘How would Orson Welles play this?’”

Emerald City Review: NBC’s Oz Reboot Has Courage, Short on Heart and Brains Since it has 10 hours to fill, Emerald City pads the original Oz story with side characters from other L. Frank Baum Oz books like the young boy Tip (Jordan Loughran). But with too many plotlines to tend to, the narrative ends up feeling sluggish, dragging its feet on the way to the titular city. The Dorothy/Lucas coupling is meant to set off sparks a la Once Upon a Time‘s Emma/Hook, but their romance is more dutiful than convincing. And intriguing characters like the Wicked Witch of the West — here, a sultry opium addict played by Ana Ularu — are left frustratingly undeveloped.

Oz in the News 12.24.16

imageREVIEW: Wizard show takes you over the rainbow The arrival at the Emerald City was camp, glitzy and glamourous, and you’d expect nothing less from a dance number lead by the island’s very own stage star Gary Chatel who plays the Wizard. My own children loved the panto, they laughed a lot at the jokes and booed and hissed in the right places. The ‘Mastermind quiz’ scene with the Tin Man with the Emerald City Guard was a particular favourite. The Wicked Witch of the West, played by David Dawson was a cross between an evil witch and a glamourous drag queen, and he played the part of the ‘baddie’ extremely well. The flying monkeys were almost as scary as I remember from the original movie. There was great music throughout the show, with classic tunes merged with pop such as ‘Ease on down the road’ leading Dorothy to The Emerald City. They even incorporated tunes from other musicals like ‘Pure Imagination’ from ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ as well as updating more iconic songs such as ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’.

Oz in the News 11.30.16

panel-of-tiles-on-eberle-street-300x300Wizard of Oz theme lights up town Liverpool’s LGBT quarter has undergone a complete revamp inspired by the Wizard of Oz movie. The improvements in Eberle Street are part of a £1.6m scheme funded by the Liverpool BID Company and Liverpool City Council to improve the commercial district and the pedestrian connections linking it to the retail sector. The district now boasts two bespoke designed Eberle Street signs along with LED lighting across the thoroughfare to compliment unique hexagon shapes displaying a yellow brick road and Emerald City from the iconic film.

Judy Garland Musical Weighs Post-Goodspeed Options Producers of the Judy Garland musical biography Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz are weighing their options after a ten-week run at Goodspeed Musicals before a hoped-for Broadway transfer. New York-based producer Tina Marie Casamento Libby told Playbill.com, “We are exploring all options, and we will let you know once we have plans firmed up. For now, we are enjoying the aftermath of a very successful run at the Goodspeed.” Libby had previously said that the show is aiming for an eventual Broadway opening.

Oz in the News 11.10.16

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Check out this Texas school’s magical Wizard of Oz garden From Pam Collins’ tiny seed, a fantasy garden grew. “I thought there would be a few chairs over here and two or three trees over there. Now look at this,” she says with wonder. It’s the Garden of Oz. There’s a grand entrance, a yellow brick road and a shed with the striped stocking legs of the Wicked Witch of the East sticking out. A life-sized Tin Man presides over all. There’s also an outdoor classroom, a music wall with wood and plastic instruments, raised garden beds, a rainwater reclamation system and benches.The garden, a gift from the Celina Garden Club, opened in late October at Celina Elementary School.

The front row: Review of Goodspeed’s ‘Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz’ As Judy, Ruby Rakos has a marvelous voice: she can belt with the best of them, and she can also infuse a ballad with sweetness, longing and heartbreak. Rakos also manages that nearly impossible task of beautifully evoking young Garland without impersonating her. Kevin Earley, as Garland’s father, Frank, gives a simultaneously tender and towering performance as a desperate man, unable to provide stability for his family and hiding a painful secret. The strongest song in the show, and the most powerful scene, is Earley’s delivery of “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows.” Sally Wilfert, as Ethel Gumm, embodies the wounded wife and the stage mother who really cares about her children’s success. Ella Briggs (“Baby” Frances Gumm”) not only sings with the power and nuance that young Judy had, but she is also a marvelous actor whose scenes with her father, in particular, are only cute when they are meant to be; more often, they are honest and affecting.

Storybook Cosmetics Teases Wizard of Oz Makeup Palettes First of all, the packaging is gorgeous and resembles and emerald, leatherbound book with gold embossing. The shades on the back include Poppy, Wicked, Good Witch, Emerald City, Oz, Cyclone, Yellow Brick Road, and Toto. Judging by the names and sizes of the pans, we can expect eight eyeshadows in rich jewel tones that shine bright. (We’re particularly excited to see how Poppy turns out, given that burgundy eye makeup is at the top of our “looks to try” list this year.)