Category Archives: Oz Theatre

Oz in the News 3.4.17

iconsquareimage0011500London Theatre Workshop in Association with Julie Clare Productions Presents JUDY! Following a critically acclaimed debut season at Southwark Playhouse under its original title, Through The Mill, Ray Rackham’s biographical musical about the life of iconic movie star and chanteuse, Judy Garland, arrives in London’s West End this Summer. Leaving behind the usual portrayal of Garland’s life as one of pure heartbreak and self-destruction, Ray Rackham has created a poignant and ultimately uplifting story portraying the star as a survivor in a man’s world. He has cleverly created an overlapping story of three ages of Judy – Young Judy (an innocent girl filled with hope and excitement as she heads toward her life-changing performance in The Wizard of Oz), Palace Theatre Judy (a woman at the height of her performing powers in the midst of a passionate romance with Sidney Luft) and CBS Judy (an older and possibly wiser woman) – that demonstrates that no matter how hard we look for love in all the wrong places, the answer is ultimately inside ourselves.

SPOILERS What Is “The Beast Forever” On ‘Emerald City’? The Finale Introduced Oz’s Biggest Threat According to NBC, the character is credited as Roquat, and a quick perusal of Baum’s Oz lore will reveal that he isn’t an original creation for the TV show — in fact, while The Wicked Witch Of The West may be Baum’s most famous villain courtesy of Margaret Hamilton’s iconic performance, Roquat is Baum’s most significant and recurring villain throughout his many Oz books. This antagonist (variously known as Roquat the Red, Ruggedo of the Rocks, or simply the Nome King) is the leader of the Nomes, who are a race of immortal, cave-dwelling rock fairies who have a deep-seated hatred for anyone who lives aboveground. He frequently clashes with both Dorothy and Ozma throughout the novels, only being defeated when they manage to steal his magic belt — the artifact through which he derives his powers. In fact, Roquat is such a prevalent presence in the books that his ultimate reveal as the show’s big bad Beast Forever should come as little surprise to fans more intimate with Baum’s source material beyond the 1939 film adaptation.

Oz in the News 3.3.17

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‘Wizard of Oz’ Universe-Set Horror Movie in the Works at New Line New Line is in early development on a horror film set in the iconic world of L. Frank Baum’s novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” The studio, a division of Warner Bros., has bought an untitled pitch by screenwriter Mike Van Waes. The project isn’t set up with a producer yet. Van Waes sold his Black List script “Hammerspace” to Warner Bros. last year. The story focuses on a terminally-ill teenager looking for answers about his missing father who finds a key that unlocks an opening to an alternate animated dimension. Van Waes also set up a movie version of his project “Peeves” at Fox Animation last year, with Temple Hill producing. 

The House Theatre of Chicago Announces the Return of THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE WIZARD OF OZ A twister lands our teenage Dorothy and her house in Munchkinland. Right on top of a wicked witch. Her phone won’t work, her dog is scared, and she’s desperate to get home to what little family she has left. But the town’s residents are gleefully celebrating Dorothy’s powers as the fabled Witch Slayer. When Glinda and the munchkins can’t convince her to stick around and be their new hero, they send her off on the road of yellow brick wearing magical boots soaked in the red blood of the slain witch. A favor from the fabled all-powerful Wizard will be her only chance to get out of Oz.

See the trailer for Danielle Paige’s The End of Oz — and read an excerpt Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die series is finally coming to a close with The End of Ozout March 14. When last we saw her, Amy Gumm had finally defeated Dorothy, and she and the last remaining members of Revolutionary Order of the Wicked were gearing up to rebuild Oz. But they’re shocked to find out that one of their own has betrayed them — and they might not have had the successful victory over Dorothy they thought they did. EW is excited to reveal the trailer for The End of Oz, along with an exclusive sneak peek at the first two chapters.

Oz in the News 2.21.17

kansascollection_thekey4New Immersive Play Makes You Pick A Side In The Battle For Oz Speakeasy Society’s The Kansas Collection takes place after Dorothy’s departure and focuses on the unrest that grips Oz now that the Wizard has been exposed for a fraud. The Scarecrow and his camp are firmly anti-magic, believing the smoke and mirrors that surrounded the disgraced wizard are the root of Oz’s strife. Unfortunately, this means the new regime has also cracked down on good magic, which, as you recall, was a key element of the witches of the north and south. The audience is left to learn about each faction jockeying for power, and to choose whom they will pledge their allegiance. It can be confusing at times, and there seem to be multiple points at which one can decide to be a double agent. Adding to the disarray is the fact that time flows differently in Oz, meaning you might not be able to trust when you are, let alone who you are with. If starring in your own cloak and dagger, fantastical spy movie sounds appealing to you, you might want to jump on The Kansas Collection before the story progresses too far. Each show lasts about 15 to 20 minutes, but offers space to hang out, socialize, have a glass of wine, and glean information from other guests, who may be on a different path than your own. At $15 a ticket, it’s a deal. If you’re just getting started, you can do a few things. You can read this spoiler-filled recap of The Key here, though this account is only one possible track. If you go, you may have a different outcome. Or, you can wait for Speakeasy Society to re-stage The Key and The Axe, which they are planning to do in March. Get tickets here, or follow them on Twitter for the latest updates here.

What song did John F Kennedy ask Judy Garland to sing to him on the phone? A new memoir by “The Wizard of Oz” star’s third husband Sid Luft, which was crafted from notes Luft left unfinished before he died in 2005, tells how Garland was introduced to JFK by Peter Lawford and his wife Patricia, Kennedy’s younger sister, when Kennedy was a junior senator from Massachusetts. “JFK was young, lanky and extremely outgoing,” writes Luft in “Judy and I: My Life with Judy Garland.” “He asked Peter and Pat to introduce him to ‘Dorothy’ in the flesh.” Garland and Kennedy struck up a friendship, and as Luft wrote: “In the coming years, JFK would ring Judy from either the White House or Camp David and ask her to sing to him over the telephone.” “He’d request ‘Over the Rainbow,’” continued Luft. “Judy was located somewhere in New York and obliged the President with several renditions of his favorite melodies.”

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.