Category Archives: Oz Theatre

Oz in the News 3.3.19

Heart, Courage, And A Brain: Dorchester Native Ray Bolger The Scarecrow In ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ The Scarecrow on the hunt for a brain in the 1939 classic “The Wizard of Oz” was played by Dorchester native Ray Bolger. His role as the Scarecrow captured the public’s imagination some 80 years ago but Bolger was a star in his own right with a career in theatre, movies, television, and dance that spanned over fifty years. So why don’t we know more about his start as a dancer on the streets of Boston?

Warwick Davis is off to see the Wizard! For one night only, join BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night Is Music Night and the BBC Concert Orchestra for a trip along the Yellow Brick Road to celebrate the beloved musical film The Wizard of Oz in its 80th anniversary year. Alongside the classic songs from the film such as Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Follow the Yellow Brick Road, the concert also features music from Wicked as well as the Michael Jackson and Diana Ross movie The Wiz – both inspired by Frank L. Baum’s original Oz stories. The incredible cast includes the Olivier Award-winning Rebecca Trehearn as Dorothy, singer-songwriter Joe Stilgoe as the Scarecrow, West End leads Hadley Fraser as the Tin Man and Trevor Dion Nicholas as the Cowardly Lion, and Sharon D. Clarke, fresh from her triumph in Caroline Or Change. Actor Warwick Davis, who has starred in Star Wars and Harry Potter, presents his first concert for BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night Is Music Night, while the sixty-piece BBC Concert Orchestra is conducted by Broadway maestro Larry Blank.

 

Oz in the News 2.26.19

Review Fix Exclusive: Inside ‘Toto Talks’ In “True Hollywood Story” style, Randall David Cook brings us the behind the scenes life and times of Toto … no not 80s rock band … the DOG from the Wizard of OZ.  We meet Toto … ready to spill the tea on all the goings-on when the cameras were off in OZ.  Angry that Judy got movies and the witches are STILL on Broadway, she’s ready to make this downtown appearance a chance to set the record straight … that’s right Toto is a SHE! If you’re friend of Dorothy, you’ll LOVE Toto. That goes for hypersensitive theater critics and dog lovers as well! This uproarious 60-minute soiree with the celebratory pooch features a triumvirate of talent. Stage and film professional, Joey McKneely, joins forces again with Cook after a triumphant run with the new musical Shadows, whose run at the Connolly Theater garnered high praise and full houses. McKneely is a two-time Tony-nominated Broadway Choreographer (Smokey Joe’s Cafe and The Life) and the international Director and Choreographer of West Side Story. Other Broadway credentials include Twelfth Night, The Wild Party, The Boy From OZ and the West Side Story revival.

Holland Oz Project Sally Laukitis and Linda Hart of the Holland Area Visitors Bureau about the unveiling the “Holland Oz Project” permanent exhibit during a Feb. 25, 2019 interview.

Collecting ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and 80 years of history We know the movie was, and continues to be, a classic. In honor of its anniversary we went to Camden, where the owner of the world’s largest collection of Wizard of Oz memorabilia lives. Willard Carroll started collecting when he first saw the film on television at four-years-old… he was hooked. “There’s a genius to the way the movie is constructed, in which you have a little girl played by Judy Garland who plays everything in the movie totally straight and totally real and totally pure, just like a real kid and everybody else is nuts,” says Carroll. “Everybody else is this group of eccentric characters that she accepts on face value, she’s totally non-judgmental… I think that feeling of intense friendship gives it a universality that people have always responded to.” Carroll started collecting as a child, “[Proctor Gamble] did a set of these little plastic hand puppets and the bodies were generic but they were these molded plastic heads… you could send away for a puppet theater on the back of Ivory Snow boxes. So my mother bought a lot of Ivory soap that she probably didn’t need so I could get the puppet theater, so those were the first things.”

Oz in the News 2.9.19

The Vixens are heading to Oz for a string of Valentine shows  Since the Louisville burlesque group Va Va Vixens has been together, way back in 2009, attempting a rendition of “The Wizard of Oz” has been somewhat of a Bucket List goal. Now that their home base has come together and their talented crew is at the top of their game, it’s time to jump into the world of “Va Va Vizard of Voz,” which opens Friday, Feb. 8, at Art Sanctuary and continues through Valentine’s Day weekend. Of course, this is the Vixens’ own take on the classic story, so it’s best if you go in with an open mind. “A few things you will notice is that we actually have two evil witches instead of just one ‘wicked witch,’ and our Dorothy is from Kentucky, and we will be visiting ‘VixenLand,’ explains Vixens manager and producer Lisa Frye. “There are many more surprises. We have also updated a few themes and crafted the story to bring it more into modern times.” The two-and-a-half-hour show will feature 20 performers including singers, dancers, aerialists, a guitarist and more. “Va Va Vizard of Voz” runs Feb. 8-9 and Feb. 14-16 at Art Sanctuary, 1433 S. Shelby St. Lousiville, KY. The show starts at 8 p.m. each night, with doors opening at 7. Admission is $30, or $40 for VIP, which includes table service.

Oz in the News 2.1.19

Massive Oz collection to go on show for seniors week Dorothy Overton never liked her name. But falling in love with The Wizard of Oz changed all that. Now Ms Overton is regarded as Australia’s biggest collector of Wizard of Ozmemorabilia – and you can check out some of her most prized possessions this month. The 75-year-old will display items like teapots, dolls, plates and more for seniors week. “I’ve picked up things from across Australia and overseas,” Ms Overton said. Ms Overton’s memorabilia will be displayed at the Funland for seniors week from Tuesday, February 19 to Friday, February 22, 9am-2pm daily. 

How Three Ballet Companies Joined Forces to Bring The Magical World of “The Wizard of Oz” to Life On Friday, Colorado Ballet will present the company premiere of Septime Webre‘s The Wizard of Oz, a ballet they produced jointly with Kansas City Ballet and Royal Winnipeg Ballet (KCB presented the world premiere back in October, and RWB will have their turn this May). The three companies split the costs of creating the full-length story ballet, which includes an original score by Matthew Pierce; 120 colorful costumes (plus 112 hats!) designed by Liz Vandal; projection technology and flying effects; and puppetry (including a puppet Toto) by Nicholas Mahon, who recently worked on the opening ceremony for the 2018 Winter Olympics. The result is a major new production none of the companies likely would have been able to pull off on their own.

Oz in the News 1.12.19

Wicked musical casts its first black Glinda as Brittney Johnson makes history Brittney Johnson just made history on Broadway. The stage actress became the first black performer to take on the mantle of Glinda in an English-language production of Wicked on Thursday. The ever popular musical, an alternate take on The Wizard of Oz, has been playing in New York for over 15 years.  Brittney joined the cast of the perennial hit back in June. She was cast as a member of the ensemble and as Glinda’s understudy. As an understudy, she had to be ready to assume the role whenever necessary, and the opportunity finally came Thursday night.  The actress and singer posted another photo of herself in the Glinda costume with a radiant smile on Friday, saying she would be reprising the role later that night. ‘The importance of this moment in history is only amplified by the message of this beautiful show: Love, friendship, and kindness are stronger than any division caused by a fear of ‘otherness,’ she wrote. ‘Love can break down barriers to change the world. I’m so grateful to the Wicked team for trusting me to tell this story. Representation is so important and I’m honored to be a representative here on Broadway and in the theatre community. My hope and prayer is that people all over the world can see my story and have faith that they can achieve their dreams too. ‘I’m going to keep dreaming big and working hard to continue breaking down doors so that Everyone who wants to has a chance to walk through! Let’s do it again tonight! See you at 8!’

Oz in the News 1.11.19

Ruby Rakos, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Karen Mason, More Are Part of Chasing Rainbows Workshop An industry presentation of Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz, a new musical about the early life of Judy Garland, from her vaudeville sister act through her rise at MGM to win the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, is presented January 10 in New York City. Chasing Rainbows is the first stage, film, or television property about the life of Judy Garland to receive the endorsement of the Garland Estate. The musical utilizes tunes from the Sony Music/Feist Robbins catalog, including “Over the Rainbow,” “You Made Me Love You,” “Everybody Sing,” “In Between,” and “Dear Mr. Gable.” The production was conceived and created by actor, director, and teacher Tina Marie Casamento. Garland historian John Fricke, author of The Wizard of Oz: An Illustrated Companion to the Timeless Classic, is a consultant on the project.

Oz in the News 1.5.19

Elizabeth Letts Finds the Wizard Behind Oz We all need a bit of magic from time to time,” Maud Gage Baum says to the young Judy Garland in Elizabeth Letts’s new novel, Finding Dorothy (Ballantine, Feb.). Maud—the widow of Wizard of Oz creator L. Frank Baum and the indefatigable central character of Letts’s story—is a woman profoundly familiar with both the importance of magic and the endless challenges of creating it. Warm, articulate, and fiercely intelligent, Letts feels as vibrantly present as if she were sitting across the table, though our conversation is being conducted remotely—Letts in her California home, me in North Carolina. Letts’s novel moves fluidly between two phases of Maud Baum’s life: her long relationship with Frank Baum (from their meeting in 1880 through the completion of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1899) and the adaptation of the book into film two decades after Frank’s death. The larger-than-life Baum—a ferociously inventive, optimistic, and talented man who failed in theatrical, publishing, and retailing ventures before Oz became a bestseller in 1900—comes effervescently to life in Letts’s pages, and his creative vision forges the most obvious link between her novel’s two narratives. Yet it’s a chain of female mentorship that forms the most memorable connections in the novel. As the younger Maud raises four sons and keeps her family afloat amid endless financial vicissitudes, she feels a deep bond with Magdalena, her sister Julia Carpenter’s daughter and one possible inspiration for the character of Dorothy. “The Carpenters homesteaded in Dakota Territory, where the Baums also lived for a time. Julia Carpenter’s diary offered me so many small useful details, and I’m grateful to have had the chance to explore the area where they lived myself,” Letts says. “When I visited the library in Aberdeen, where Frank opened a short-lived store, the staff let me sit and look through boxes of Baum family memorabilia spanning decades of their lives. Maud’s lace and stationery, lots of family photographs: it was touching those things, and seeing those places, that really brought the story to life for me.”

Vaquera Is Taking On The Wizard of Oz at MoMA PS1 Since its start seven years ago, Vaquera has mined culture high and low, producing nontraditional fashion shows inspired by, among other things, high school; religious iconography and casinos; status symbols like Tiffany & Co. bags and the American flag; and the Margaret Atwood classic, The Handmaid’s Tale. The trio composed of Patric DiCaprio, Bryn Taubensee, and Claire Sully will continue its brand of “fashion fan fiction” into 2019 with a performance at MoMA PS1 this April consisting of a stage reinterpretation of The Wizard of Oz. Titled “Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead,” it will riff on L. Frank Baum’s original text, film productions of the book, and the musical Wicked, as well as other modern retellings. Vaquera’s performance is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, promising a cast of artist, model, and actor collaborators. As for the show itself, the trio says, “We will deconstruct what it is about the characters from The Wizard of Oz that have resonated with so many people . . . . You can expect something wild and bizarre.”