Category Archives: Oz Theatre

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.

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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.”

Oz in the News 5.17.18

Dorothy’s ruby slippers will return to the National Museum of American History on Oct. 19 The artifacts from the 1939 MGM movie “The Wizard of Oz” will be a highlight of an interim display of American popular culture, museum officials said. The permanent cultural galleries, which are closed, will reopen in 2020. “We wanted to return these to display earlier than that and to bring out other objects from the collection,” spokeswoman Laura Duff said. Dorothy’s sequined slippers — one of several pairs worn by Judy Garland — went off view on April 23, 2017, for conservation and research. The project was supported by a Kickstarter campaign in 2016 that raised nearly $350,000 from more than 6,400 supporters. The Smithsonian’s first Kickstarter in 2015 raised $719,779 to conserve and display Neil Armstrong’s Apollo spacesuit. When the ruby slippers return this fall, they will be displayed in one of eight installations focused on American culture, including music, sports and entertainment.

Review: El Wiz – Fringe 2018 L.Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz” gets re-set in contemporary Puerto Rico in Paul Castañeda and Juan Cantú’s “The Wiz.” There are great ideas in Castañeda’s adaptation to make the story relevant — the Scarecrow has Asperger’s, the Tin Man is gay. Most important, the tornado is now Hurricane Maria. In the stirring opening, the islanders plead for help – “We are one,” they sing in Spanish. “We are part of your country.” But thankfully, “El Wiz” isn’t a political screed. Rather, it’s an exuberant celebration of heritage and resilience.  Castañeda has found a magnificent –— and gigantic — cast. There are so many people on stage, in fact, that as director he doesn’t always focus the audience’s attention on where it needs to be. Still, many make strong impressions, especially Crystal Lizardo as determined Dorothy, Desiree Montes as the spirit of her mother and a pair of Ericks: Erick Sureda has great moves and stirs compassion for the Scarecrow, Erick Perafan brings a spectacular tenor to the Tin Man. Cantú’s music is almost always highly engaging — the Lizardo-led “Mi Isla” is also particularly memorable.

Oz in the News 5.15.18

Amber Ruffin to Contribute New Material for The Muny’s THE WIZ The Muny announced today that Emmy and Writers Guild Award-nominated Amber Ruffin will provide new material for the script of The Muny’s production of The Wiz, June 19 – 25. Ruffin has been working with The Wiz’s original book writer, William F. Brown, on The Muny production, with the full support of Charles Michael Smalls, son of The Wiz composer Charlie Smalls. “We’re so thrilled for The Muny’s 100th to premiere a new version of The Wiz,” said Muny Artistic Director and Executive Producer Mike Isaacson. “Working with The Wiz’s original book writer, William F. Brown, and his wife, Tina Tippit, Amber has brought a wonderful, fresh voice to the show. Anyone who has seen her hilarious work on Late Night with Seth Meyers knows how wise and funny she is. Collaborating with Bill, Tina, Amber and Michael Smalls to create our Muny production has been a joy.” “I am so honored to be a part of The Wiz,” said Ruffin. “I have so many fond memories of this musical, and I hope this production lights the same spark in people that it did in me!”

Oz in the News 5.8.18

Skaters take journey on ice to Oz Isabella Gringon, 16, who will play the role of Dorothy, said having her mom’s support means so much. She admits it will be great spending Mother’s Day having her in the audience. Her mom, Victoria Amendolare, owner of Meredith’s Performance Wear, has not only designed Isabella’s skating dresses for the past several years, but now makes custom costumes and alterations for many of the skaters at the Rockledge venue. “My mom amazes me with all the beautiful dresses she sews for both me and other skaters here,” Isabella said. “She is continuously working on astonishing costumes for us. She is so talented.” For more information or to purchase tickets call 321-504-7500 or visit 720 Roy Wall Blvd., Rockledge, FL

Oz in the News 5.3.18

BalletMet helps bring Dorothy back to Oz for new adventures The 1900 book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by author L. Frank Baum and the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz,” starring Judy Garland, tell the story of young Dorothy Gale, whose life in Kansas is upended when a twister plunks her down in the land of Oz. But Baum (1856-1919) documented Dorothy and other characters in 13 books that followed, including the posthumously published “Glinda of Oz” (1920). That book forms the basis for “Dorothy and the Prince of Oz,” a ballet produced jointly by BalletMet and the Tulsa Ballet. The show, which was unveiled in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in February 2017, will make its central Ohio premiere this weekend in the Ohio Theatre. Under the direction of conductor Peter Stafford Wilson, the Columbus Symphony will accompany the show. Librettist Oliver Peter Graber melded material from “Glinda of Oz” with other books to fashion the story, in which Glinda the Good Witch sends for Dorothy to resolve a feud between King Sapphire and Queen Diamond, whose union produced the Prince of Oz. “It’s a more mature story of Dorothy,” said Valentine-Ellis, 32. “I always love developing characters, finding out new stories or new adventures that they’ve been on.” In an unusual multi-company collaboration, BalletMet and the Tulsa Ballet each chipped in $500,000 toward the $1 million budget — a princely sum for BalletMet.

Oz in the News 5.2.18

Stephen Schwartz Celebrates WICKED During Oz-Stravaganza In Chittenango, NY Legendary Broadway and Hollywood songwriter Stephen Schwartz was announced today as special guest of the annual “OZ-Stravaganza!”/WIZARD OF OZ festival, June 1-3, in Chittenango, NY. The Oscar and Grammy Award-winning composer/lyricist will take part in two separate events on Saturday and Sunday that weekend, celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of WICKED, which opened on Broadway in 2003. Schwartz will appear onstage at OZ-Stravaganza! on Saturday evening, June 2nd, to discuss his score for WICKED, the show’s ceaseless appeal, and its forthcoming film version. (WICKED includes such classic Schwartz compositions as “Defying Gravity,” “Popular,” “For Good,” and “The Wizard and I.”) On Sunday, June 3rd, Schwartz will offer a special meet-and-greet autograph session for fans at Chittenango’s All Things Oz Museum from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Tiffany Hass and Michael McCorry Rose, who starred in WICKED on Broadway as Glinda and Fiyero, will also be spotlighted at the 2018 OZ-Stravaganza! In addition to their own meet-and-greet appearances in Oz Park on Friday and Saturday afternoons — and participation in the annual OZ Parade on Saturday at 2 o’clock — Haas and Rose will precede Schwartz onstage on Saturday evening. The Schwartz, Haas, and Rose interviews will be conducted by Emmy Award-winning producer, best-selling author, and Oz historian John Fricke. (Fricke currently serves as creative consultant for the new musical about the teenage Judy Garland, CHASING RAINBOWS: THE ROAD TO OZ.)

Somewhere over the pitch deck: a brief history of The Wizard of Oz in advertising I worked at Warner Bros in their licensing team for four years, where I learned The Wizard of Oz is one of its most commonly requested properties for use in advertising campaigns. One of the campaigns I worked on in 2012 was with Australian dairy company Bulla Dairy, who wanted to do a modern take of the film. This didn’t include any existing footage or music, but instead licensed character likeness and thematic elements. The 30-second ad shows their version of Dorothy getting on a school bus and encountering elements from the film such as a pointy witch’s hat and a boy holding a toy resembling Tin Man. After arriving home we see her kick off her ruby slippers and enjoy a bowl of ice cream on the sofa while her dog, who looks an awful lot like Toto, watches. In a nice touch, a card on the fridge reads: ‘There’s no place like home’.