Category Archives: Oz Theatre

Oz in the News 9.18.18

Oz in the News 9.13.18

Scraps is the latest work to feed our ongoing Oz obsession With 14 books, a handful of plays, and even a comic strip on the beings and doings of the magical land of Oz, you would think L. Frank Baum, its self-styled Royal Historian, had adequately expounded upon the adventures of the quirky folk of a more colorful universe. However, our hunger for a more fabulous reality being insatiable, many others have taken up the task since Baum’s death 99 years ago, producing dozens more books, and, of course, Wicked and The Wiz. The latest in this unstoppable efflorescence of fanfic is Anthony Whitaker’s Scraps, premiering at the Den under the direction of Jamal Howard. A ragdoll sewn from a superfluous quilt and brought to life with magic powder, Scraps (Brittney Brown) doesn’t eat, can’t sleep, and uses her exquisite brain for maintaining a routine that doesn’t offend the local Munchkins. Made-up dreams and undrunk cups of tea seem her only destiny until a timely chat with the Tin Man teaches her that all the best things in life are pretend. Off she sets on a journey to Enlightenment (er, the Emerald City), where she hobnobs with the upper class: Dorothy and Ozma, Ojo the Unlucky, Betsy Bobbin, and more, each bitchier than the canonical stories would have you believe.

Kermit to Play the Wizard of Oz in a Pasadena Panto Would one of pop culture’s most emerald icons, a certain Mr. the Frog, be at home in the Emerald City? Fans will find out, from Dec. 14 through 30, 2018, when Kermit takes the role of the great and powerful Wizard of Oz in the Lythgoe Family Panto’s annual holiday stage spectacular, an end-of-the-year Pasadena tradition. This isn’t a presentation fully cast with Muppets, but rather humans, making the felt fellow’s presence as the musical’s title character even quirkier and more endearing. But the musical’s quirkiness continues beyond the casting of Kermit, for while this production is “… in the style of a traditional British panto,” audience members should prepare for “… family-friendly magic, with a comedic twist, dancing (“So You Think You Can Dance” alumni), contemporary music and more.”

Oz in the News 8.30.18

Geek Road Trip: Inside The Once-Forgotten Bootleg Wizard Of Oz Theme Park In The Appalachian Mountains We’re winding up a gravel road on Beech Mountain in North Carolina. It’s the back road to The Land of Oz, the one that customers aren’t allowed on — they have to go up the ski lift. It’s threatening rain and the Yellow Brick Road is calling as we get out of the car, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and get a bit lightheaded from the altitude. I’m here at a secluded, 1970s vintage Wizard of Oz theme park, and it’s already one of the most unique days of my life. Then it’s through a locked gate to be greeted by a broken Fountain of Youth. It’s indicative of the struggles this Wizard of Oz park has had, tucked up here in the mountains; it’s under construction, right now, but the disrepair is still obvious for the moment. My guide is Jana Greer, a manager here at The Land of Oz, and a former Dorothy performer for the park. She’s got ruby-sequined Vans on. Once Dorothy, always Dorothy. It’s immediately apparent that she and co-manager Sean Barrett are deeply passionate about it, cracks, bumps, and all.

TCT Presents The Frisch Marionette Company’s Production Of THE WIZARD OF OZ The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati is proud to present The Frisch Marionette Company performing everyone’s favorite story of Dorothy’s trip over the rainbow, THE WIZARD OF OZ. TCT’s Producing Artistic Director, Roderick Justice says, “”Frisch Marionettes is one of the most mesmerizing live theatrical performances I have ever witnessed. We are excited to share this experience with you and bring this story to life on our Showtime Stage on Red Bank.” In 1986, Kevin Frisch moved to New York City and joined The Puppetworks, Inc. of Brooklyn, New York. The next nine years were spent touring the New York Metropolitan area as well as performing in The Puppetworks’ permanent theatres in Brooklyn and Macy’s Herald Square. In 1995, Kevin established The Frisch Marionettes in Cincinnati as an exceptional entertainment and educational experience for children and adults alike, proclaiming the many virtues of this unusual art form. Kevin Frisch has built puppets, masks and costumes for The Central Park Zoo, New York Aquarium and The Puppetworks Inc. of New York. His puppets have been seen in People Magazine, SHOWTIMES’ “Twisted Puppet Theater”, the PBS Documentary “The American Puppet,” and onstage with The Cincinnati Opera as well as in the New York store windows of ‘Saks 5th Ave.’, ‘Bloomingdale’s’ and ‘Hermes New York’ and in the family film “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” featuring Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman. Kevin and his puppets have appeared in television commercials for Joseph Toyota of Cincinnati. Most recently, his puppets have appeared in the hit television shows “2 Broke Girls” on CBS and “Warehouse 13” on the Syfy channel. For the past five seasons, The Frisch Marionette Company has designed puppets for TCT’s MainStage productions at the Taft Theatre

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 8.11.18

It’s Popular! West End’s WICKED Will Play Its 5000th Performance Tonight  WICKED, the “gravity-defying Wizard of Oz prequel” (Time Out) that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, will tonight (Thursday 9 August 2018) play its landmark 5000th performance at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre. “The hit musical with brains, heart and courage” (The Sunday Telegraph) will celebrate its 12th birthday next month and is already the 14th longest running West End show of all time. WICKED has now been seen by more than 9 million people in London alone and is the 7th longest running show currently playing in the West End (and the 5th longest running musical).

Oz in the News 8.2.18

There’s a ‘Wizard of Oz’ convention coming to Pomona Click your heels together three times, because the 54th OzCon International will be held on the Cal Poly Pomona campus on Aug. 10-12. Special guests for OzCon will include writer Andy Mangels, who produced the bonus features for the film, “Journey Back to Oz,” and Christianna Rickard, the niece of Ray Bolger and author of the book, “A Legend in Straw.” The event will celebrate the 100th anniversary of L. Frank Baum’s “The Tin Woodman of Oz,” the 12th book in the classic series, as well as the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz” and author Rachel Cosgrove Payes. There will be panels, displays, an auction, vendors, opportunities for attendees to swap their collectibles, a costume contest and more.

Casting Announced For New American Folk Theatre’s SCRAPS New American Folk Theatre is pleased to announce casting for its world premiere of SCRAPS, the story of the Patchwork Girl of Oz, many years after her celebrated adventures in L. Frank Baum‘s Oz book series. Follow Scraps on her journey of self-discovery and her effort to shed herself of the patchwork quilt that she is made of in order to become a more “normal” person. Using the setting of America’s first fairy tale, this play explores racial and gender identity, and the myriad of people that make up the patchwork of this country. SCRAPS explores our capacity to love and our need to find intimacy through trust and friendship. Comments Co-Artistic Jamal Howard, “Scraps is such a special script that uses a familiar fantasy world – Oz – to dive into a woman’s journey of self discovery and love. Many of us know what it feels like to be different and Scraps has a chance to disguise herself and live out a fantasy she didn’t even realize she had. Her story of searching for truth and meaning in life is universal.” Written by Co-Artistic Director Anthony Whitaker* and directed by Co-Artistic Director Jamal Howard*, SCRAPS will play September 1 – 29, 2018 at The Den Theatre (2A), 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets go on sale Thursday, August 2, 2018 at www.newamericanfolktheatre.org or by calling (773) 697- 3830. The press opening is Tuesday, September 4 at 7:30 pm.

Oz in the News 7.25.18

Reimagined classic ‘Wizard of Oz’ debuts in Kansas City area as theater, ballet Think you’ve seen enough “The Wizard of Oz” productions?Organizers promise you’ve not seen any like these: the first live stage production to incorporate stills and film clips and the debut of a new ballet based on the 1939 American musical fantasy film synonymous with Kansas. “It’s all things Oz in the Kansas City area this year,” said Mark Edelman, whose last project before retiring after 40 years at the helm of Kansas City’s Theater League has been to develop this live stage version that will run for four performances Aug. 1-4 at the Providence Medical Center Amphitheater in Bonner Springs, just west of Kansas City. Edelman has licensed from Warner Brothers the use of up to 40 scenes from the MGM movie that will be projected on a 40-by-20-foot video wall at the rear of the stage. You won’t see Judy Garland on the screen, you’ll see recognizable scenes behind the live actors. Next to the amphitheater, the National Agricultural Center & Hall of Fame is presenting daytime programming Aug. 2-4. The center’s “Oz Comes to Kansas” allows visitors to experience a farm town similar to what Dorothy Gale would have experienced while living on her family’s Kansas farm. Pet farm animals, ride a train, take photos with characters from the musical, watch a puppet version of “The Wizard of Oz,” participate in crafts and activities, and see one of the largest private collections of Oz memorabilia. Admission is $8 adults, $4 ages 2-12; food and drinks will be available for purchase.