Category Archives: Oz Theatre

Oz in the News 4.23.17

Go Behind The Scenes Of Judy Garland Musical JUDY! A series of three short documentaries are being released prior to the official opening of the poignant biographical musical Judy!.Charting the turbulent life of acclaimed chanteuse Judy Garland, the show opens this May at the Arts Theatre in London’s West End. With narration by musical theatre legend Elaine Paige, and interviews hosted by leading theatre critic Mark Shenton, the documentaries follow the show’s journey from a 60-seat theatre in Fulham to the Arts Theatre, as well as exploring the design process and providing cast interviews. Writer and director Ray Rackham said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been given the opportunity to explore the journey of the play. It really has been a dream come true, taking the show – and almost all of the cast who originated the roles – from the studio space at London Theatre Workshop in December 2015 to the Arts Theatre, West End, in May 2017. I’m so grateful to Elaine and Mark for being part of this process.”

Oz in the News 4.12.17

‘The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz’ lands back at the House in time for a dark family spring break Dorothy — who now is played, and with the right mix of vulnerability and resilience, by Kara Davidson — is very much a recognizable teenager in this version. Instead of all of the characters in her dream operating as farmhands, as they do in the movie — they represent a school board rejecting Dorothy from one of their programs, a program that she thinks might save her, because she does not seem sufficiently sure of what she wants to do. Not everything in the piece is as telling or emotionally resonant, although AnJi White does not mess around as The Witch of the West (the wickedness is in the beholding) and Joey Steakley, who plays Toto (as he did years ago) packs a lot of emotional wallop into manipulating a little, loyal dog.

All hail the great and powerful ‘Oz,’ the king of American novels “There’s no question that it’s at the top,” said renowned literary scholar Michael Patrick Hearn, who has written extensively about Baum. “ ‘Huckleberry Finn,’ ‘Little Women’ and ‘Tom Sawyer’ certainly have affected American life, but not like ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.’ Probably the only thing you can compare it to these days is the Harry Potter madness.” The difference, of course, is that Baum’s novel was published 117 years ago, yet it still casts a spell as powerful as anything J.K. Rowling has conjured.

Oz in the News 4.4.17

‘Lost in Oz: Extended Adventure’ Snags Five Daytime Emmy Nominations Tokyo-based Polygon Pictures announced that its animated feature Lost in Oz: Extended Adventure has received five nominations for the 44th annual Daytime Emmy Awards, including outstanding children’s animated program, outstanding casting for an animated series or special, outstanding writing in an animated program, outstanding sound mixing – animation and outstanding sound editing – animation. Lost in Oz: Extended Adventure is a special feature from the Lost In Oz original animated series by Amazon Prime Video and the Bureau of Magic, which was released on Dec. 2, 2016, on Amazon Prime Video.

Todrick Hall on his new Tour, RuPaul, and, of Course, The Wizard of Oz “I wanted to tell the story of my life. I was a kid who grew up different in Texas, much like Dorothy feels in Kansas. She wanted to go somewhere else. But in life we often feel like we need other people, even in relationships or in business, we think we need other people to give us permission to do things instead of taking matters into our own hands. I’m not gonna wait for some wizard, who doesn’t really have the power to help me anyway, to give me what I need when I can get it myself. That’s basically what I’ve done my whole career on YouTube, but for some reason it didn’t apply to recording music. I wanted to move to L.A. to become a recording artist, but everyone said no to me. “You’re not going to be able to chart on the pop charts.” I don’t have a record deal or whatever. But I put my song out that I self-produced on iTunes and now RuPaul and I are in the top 20 of the pop charts. We’re the number 4 top album today.”

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.