Category Archives: Oz Theatre

Oz in the News 5.2.19

Bonham’s Auction Designed by Adrian. Kelly green hip-length felt coat with symmetrical cream-colored appliques, forest green trim, and large cream-colored buttons on either side of the front, attached together with a horizontal applique with hook-and-eye closures, with puffed shoulders and wide bell sleeves, bearing an interior green-lettered “Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer” label inscribed, “38” in ink. Adrian, who was MGM’s top costume designer in the 1930s, allowed his imagination to soar in the unforgettable costumes worn by all of the characters throughout The Wizard of Oz. His use of geometric shapes, oversized accoutrements, and brilliant colors brought the Land of Oz and Emerald City to dazzling life, and he is best remembered for his work on this film. Accompanied by a framed vintage re-release photo (R1970) showing a citizen of Emerald City wearing the coat in the scene where the witch spells out “Surrender Dorothy” with her broom.

Celebrating the Centennial of Children’s Book Week, Library of Congress Launches a Unique Online Collection of 67 Historically Significant Children’s Books Published More Than 100 Years AgoIn celebration of the 100th anniversary of Children’s Book Week (April 29 to May 5), yesterday the Library of Congress launched a unique online collection of 67 historically significant children’s books published more than 100 years ago. Drawn from the Library’s collection, Children’s Book Selections are digital versions both of classic works still read by children today and of lesser-known treasures. Highlights of the collection include examples of the work of American illustrators such as W.W. Denslow, Peter Newell and Howard Pyle, as well as works by renowned English illustrators Randolph Caldecott, Walter Crane and Kate Greenaway.

The Case of the Stolen Ruby Slippers It seemed incredible that two of the biggest thefts of Americana — the Rockwell and ruby slippers burglaries — had both taken place in Minnesota. And as it turns out, Bruce Rubenstein told me that, in December 2018, several months after the shoes were recovered, Chris Dudley — the FBI agent in charge of the ruby slippers case — showed up unannounced at his condo building outside Minneapolis wanting to discuss the identity of the thieves behind the Rockwell heist. Rubenstein says that he later continued the conversation at FBI headquarters in Minneapolis. s for the slippers, they aren’t home yet — wherever home winds up being. They remain in evidence with the FBI. For the Grand Rapids police, though, it feels like a conclusion. “Our goal was to get the shoes back,” Mattson says. “And we did that.”

Oconomowoc, the site where ‘The Wizard of Oz’ had its premiere 80 years ago, will create a yellow brick road The city of Oconomowoc is gearing up for the 80th anniversary of the world premiere of “The Wizard of Oz.” The plan is to create a plaza dedicated to the film that debuted in Oconomowoc on Aug. 12, 1939, according to Oconomowoc Director of Economic Development and Tourism Bob Duffy. On April 16, the common council approved the purchase of six life-sized statues of the main characters from the movie to help commemorate the occasion, which will take place in August. The statues will feature Dorothy with Toto, The Tin Man, Scarecrow, The Cowardly Lion, The Wizard of Oz and the Wicked Witch of the West. The cost of the statues was estimated at $28,500. Duffy said $22,500 has been raised through private funding.

Puppetry brings Dorothy’s dog, flying monkeys to life Nicholas Mahon’s work as a puppet and theatrical designer has taken him everywhere, from Sesame Street to the 2018 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea. So, when the yellow brick road led him to the world of ballet, the Canadian-born, Emmy-nominated designer jumped at the opportunity to create almost 20 puppets for Septime Webre’s The Wizard of Oz. Indeed, puppets proved critical in the execution of some of The Wizard of Oz’s more surrealistic moments. Take the harrowing flying monkeys scene, for example. Three sizes of puppets were created to make a “field of monkeys,” with larger ones in the foreground and smaller ones in the distance. “You really get a sense of perspective, that there’s this giant cloud of these monkeys,” Mahon says. The physical monkeys, combined with all the other production elements, including music and projections, make for a tense scene that Mahon promises will leave audience members on the edge of their seats. “I’m very proud of how (the puppets) integrated into that scene,” he says. A puppet is an obvious solution for Dorothy’s little dog, too. Casting an actual dog as Toto would have be distracting as well as impractical — having a wiggly pup underfoot of the corps de ballet seems like a sprained ankle waiting to happen. But an inanimate prop dog wasn’t ideal, either. “Toto is a very important character for Dorothy,” Mahon says. “We really want to believe their connection. Toto is all she has in this strange world. He’s her anchor and her link back to home and who she is. Having that emotional connection resonate and read for the audience is important.”

Oz in the News 4.5.19

Musical developed by Rider professor on track for Broadway Watching Judy Garland sing “Over the Rainbow” as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz is a moment Adjunct Theatre Professor Tina Marie Casamento will never forget. Having lost her own mother at a young age, Casamento questioned where Dorothy’s mother was as she watched the film. She remembers finding comfort in the idea that Dorothy’s mother was somewhere over the rainbow too. The connection to the movie’s protagonist remained strong as Casamento fostered a growing interest in Garland’s life throughout her childhood and teenage years. This fascination led her to develop a concept that would eventually become the full-length musical Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz which is set to premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse on Sept. 26.

The ‘Perfectionists’ Season 1 Episode 4 Promo Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, the truth about Taylor Hotchkiss’ life is about to spill over. In the promo for April 10’s “The Ghost Sonata,” snippets related to Nolan’s mysterious sister continue to pop up. Ava (Sofia Carson) and Dylan (Eli Brown) appear to find an old copy of Ozma of Oz, a later addition to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz book series, that belonged to Taylor. Taylor crossed out the names of countries in the book’s map of Oz, replacing them with “Hotchkiss Land” and “McDevitts.” After Alison muses about whether Taylor ever found the Emerald City, she seemingly visits the cabin again, picking up another Oz book as something causes her to spin around and look behind her.


Oz in the News 3.28.19

Bricolage Production Company kicks off its 11th year of its Midnight Radio series with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz It’s Friday night in Downtown Pittsburgh, and Bricolage artistic director/founder Jeffrey Carpenter is directing a rehearsal of the company’s upcoming production of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The cast and crew are trying to figure out how to create the sound of the Tin Woodsman’s body being torn in two using scrappy, unconventional tools; after several experiments, Carpenter and assistant director Connor McCanlus think they finally have it figured out. Don’t remember that gruesome scene in the film? The script for this production was adapted by CP contributing writer Lissa Brennan, largely based on the original book by L. Frank Baum and not the movie, which includes no mention of how the Tin Man originated. This production kicks off the 11th year of Bricolage’s Midnight Radio series, plays written in homage to 1940s radio shows, complete with Foley sound effects, an applause sign, and hilarious commercial breaks written by principal creator/co-founder Tami Dixon. The “live studio audience” is encouraged to close their eyes throughout performances to experience a “radio show that’s not on the radio.” Back at rehearsal, one actor holds a large piece of fabric with both hands, ready to rip; another has placed a torn piece of cardboard under the blade of a paper cutter. Stage manager Katy Click gives the actors the clue to begin, and the sound of the Tin Woodsman’s body being ripped to shreds echoes throughout the small theater. The room gasps in a collective groan of disgust. Carpenter leans back in his chair, arms crossed, and smirks. “That’s really satisfying.”

Scientific Games launches MUNCHKINLAND™, the newest title in the successful THE WIZARD OF OZ™ series of slot games Showcased on the immersive Gamefield 2.0™ cabinet, MUNCHKINLAND is a 5-reel, 50-line slot with a life-changing “There’s No Place Like Home” wide area progressive jackpot, and two central game features. The Witch Feature stars The Wicked Witch of the East, who will randomly fly over the base game display and cast a spell on the reels, possibly expanding them up to 12 rows! During the feature, Witch Wild reels may be added, increasing the chance of a big win. If Tornado Wild reels are added, the reels switch to Lollipop Wilds displaying credit prizes and jackpots that add up for a sweet reward. The Munchkin Parade Bonus, triggered by three or more bonus symbols, begins with a wheel spin where character wedges award a corresponding jackpot and an additional spin, and free spin wedges can award up to 20 free spins! During the free spins, parading Munchkins can award up to three active enhancements, such as Wild reels, multipliers, and credit prize Lollipop Wilds.

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.