Category Archives: Oz Theatre

Oz in the News 8.20.19

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ ON THE LEGACY OF WICKED AND FOSTERING NEW TALENT In this podcast, we’re speaking with Stephen Schwartz on the lasting legacy of Wicked and his role in fostering new talent for the theatre in Wicked’s new project with ASCAP, “Flying Free.” Tune in to this podcast to hear about the development of Elphaba and G(a)linda, and his experiences with the effect that this musical has had on the world.

Collecting in the Land of Oz Many young people read the first story, and the thirteen sequels that followed, and became lost in the Land of Oz.  For most, the stories faded from memory as childhood was left behind. For some, including Barb Kennerson of Honeoye, NY, the mythical and marvelous stories and characters cast a lasting lifelong spell.  I did not know how deep of a spell that might be until I visited Kennerson at her home. I knew I had landed in the right place when I glimpsed a Dorothy figurine through the picture window.  Stepping inside, I was blown away by the eclectic and wonderful collection of Oz-related memorabilia that Kennerson has accumulated over the years.  A collection that includes the books she read as a child and many other books by Baum (including a collection of books written under his various pen names).  She has a collection of translated versions and a lovely pop-up picture book she uses for presentations, as well as many related fiction and non-fiction

Oz in the News 8.11.19

Stolen Ruby Slippers Inspire Fictional Reading On Friday, Sod House Theater (SHT), based in Minneapolis, Minn., will present a staged reading of a fictional account of the disappearance of the slippers led by Joy Dolo and Luverne Seifert, with musical composition by Ashley Hanson and Brian Laidlaw. The presentation, “Ruby Slippers,” will be performed with live music at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids at 7 p.m. on Aug. 16.  The production, explained Seifert, is part mystery, part travelogue and part Coen Brothers storytelling and will examine how a community wrestles with the devastation of the possibility that someone from their own community could be capable of an egregious crime against their hometown. “I’m a teacher at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Theater Arts and Dance, and I proposed the project to our department. So last fall I devised a play based on the theft with a group of university students,” Seifert continued. “We had a great time developing it, using the ‘Wizard of Oz,’ news clips, and documentaries, ultimately creating a Fargo-esque play that we performed at the university.” The performance was well-received, he said, and so he sought to continue the work, receiving a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant to continue phase two of the project. The second phase is what will bring the group to Grand Rapids to host a staged reading of the show in the town in which the mystery began.

Hollywood Flashback: Judy Davis Won an Emmy Playing Judy Garland In 2001, the four-hour ABC miniseries Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows cleaned up at the Emmys, where it won five awards: lead actress, supporting actress, costumes, hair styling and makeup. And it had been just those elements, especially star Judy Davis (“A tour de force performance”), that The Hollywood Reporter loved. (The Hollywood Reporter was less thrilled about the “plodding, unfocused script.”) Exec producer Neil Meron says an unusual amount of effort went into hair and makeup. “It’s a period piece and you’re dealing with one of the most iconic performers ever,” says Meron. “So many eyeballs were going to be watching and ready to take out their scalpels that you’d better be right on about the details. It was the eyebrows; the prosthetics for when she gained weight; it even extended to wearing contact lenses and Judy being uncomfortable but knowing she had to get the eyes right.”

Oz in the News 7.30.19

Madcap Puppets presents The Wizard of Oz at Ritter Park Madcap Puppets of Cincinnati presents The Wizard of Oz as part of the Greater Huntington Park & Recreation District Summer Funington series on Monday, July 29, 2019, at Ritter Park in Huntington.

Oz in the News 7.21.19

BWW Interview: Rebecca Rizzio And Eric Morris of CHASING RAINBOWS: THE ROAD TO OZ at Old Log Theatre The goal for this project has been to give this Minnesota audiences a chance to experience a side of Judy Garland they may not already know — the story of her early life before she became Judy Garland and the many obstacles she overcame to land her iconic role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. CHASING RAINBOWS brings a charm and freshness of this classic story. Ruby Rakos as Judy Garland is simply a must-see for anyone who has ever loved the song, “Over the Rainbow.” People will come away from this sneak-peek ready to buy tickets for Paper Mill.

Oz in the News 7.3.19

‘My Witch’ uncovers the beauty of Margaret Hamilton For many of us, her face is unforgettable. Though Margaret Hamilton’s name might not ring a bell, cringing at her cackle and hiding when her green face filled the screen during “The Wizard of Oz” was a childhood rite for millions. Bypassing scores of mean girls and women assassins, Almira Gulch and also the Wicked Witch of the West, were ranked as the top female movie villains by the American Film Institute. But the woman beneath the witch’s hat was surprising and inspiring. “My Witch: The Margaret Hamilton Stories,” which runs Wednesday through July 21 at Sag Harbor’s Bay Street Theater, brings audiences an intimate theatrical encounter with the iconic actress. Ten years in the making, the never-before-seen one-woman show was written by John Ahlin for his wife, actress Jean Tafler, after a reviewer likened a performance of hers to Hamilton’s witch. “Jean was miffed,” Ahlin recalls, “saying I don’t look like Margaret Hamilton.” But since the character she’d been playing was a villain, he convinced her it was a great review. “I started to wonder if there was a play in Margaret Hamilton, and within about a half a day of research I discovered she’s one of the most extraordinary women I’ve ever come across. She overcame so much in terms of how people treated her and getting past being judged on her looks.”

Oz in the News 7.9.19

Renee Zellweger Embodies Judy Garland in New ‘Judy’ Trailer “Judy” shows the world through Garland’s eyes 30 years after her star-making role in “The Wizard of Oz.” The musical biopic is set late 1960s shortly before Garland’s death, focusing on the performer’s run at the Talk of the Town club in London. The new footage, which was first teased during London Pride over the weekend with a special introduction by Zellweger, sees Garland arrive at a hotel with her two children, only to find that her suite has been released because her account was in debt. With her home and manager lost, Garland is offered a job in London, but she must leave her children in America in order to take it. “You’re saying I have to leave my children if I want to make enough money to be with my children?” Garland asks before cutting to her backstage at the Talk of the Town.

She’s A Witch! New Play Brings The Story Of Margaret Hamilton To Life On The Bay Street Stage It all began with a theater review, and not one that actress Jean Tafler found particularly flattering. “I was playing a female Ebenezer Scrooge at a theater in New Jersey, and the reviewer compared me to Margaret Hamilton,” Ms. Tafler said. “I didn’t like that. Margaret Hamilton, of course, is best known for portraying the Wicked Witch of the West, Dorothy Gale’s evil nemesis in the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz.” Her turn as the green-hued bad gal out to get the innocent farm girl from Kansas (and her little dog too) is the stuff of legends and nightmares. To this day, whenever “The Wizard of Oz” airs on television, her performance still has the power to terrify the wits out of small children. “John said she is a villain everyone loves to hate,” added Ms. Tafler, referring to her husband, playwright John Ahlin. Yet that singular, defining role was hardly the end of Hamilton’s story.

Wizard of Oz: A Theatrical Belly Dance Adventure Sadie Adair and the bevy of beauties who make up local belly dance troupe The Desert Darlings are back to take you into a magical realm known as Oz, in their third full-length production, Wizard of Oz: A Theatrical Belly Dance Adventure. All the way from Washington, D.C., Ebony Qualls joins the gals, starring as the Wizard themselves. These ladies aim to bring to the masses not just Middle Eastern dance, but something fresh, intriguing and clever to their all-ages audience with this show. South Broadway Cultural Center‘s John Lewis Theatre proudly hosts the gals for another year on Friday, July 12 and Saturday, July 13, with both shows beginning at 7pm. Adult tickets run $25, seniors and students get in for $20 and children 12 and under are only $15.

Oz in the News 7.1.19

Prather Productions takes “The Wizard of Oz” to China and Middle East Will Prather is always looking for a new audience. Most recently, he has found an international one. “I have a pretty strong drive to grow the company and produce at the highest level we can,” Prather says. “I want to take the company places we’ve never gone before. What better way than to travel halfway around the world?” “The Wizard of Oz” currently is touring China with plans to visit nine cities in 13 weeks. Then, after a break, “Oz” will head to Bahrain, an island resort in the Persian Gulf, for two weeks. “Then the entire cast and crew of 40 people will fly back to the United States for six weeks,” Prather says. Then in late September, they will return to the Middle East, going to Saudi Arabia, with the possibility of two or three other countries.