Oz in the News 11.6.17

New Children’s Book ‘Becoming Judy Garland’ Explores The Young Life Of ‘Miss Show Business’ On The Road To Oz Becoming Judy Garland (Tribal Clef Books; November 2017) is the new children’s book from bestselling author Randy L. Schmidt. Readers will discover how Frances Gumm, this “little girl with the BIG voice,” went from vaudeville to movie stardom and landed the role of a lifetime. “I wrote this book because I feel Judy Garland is still relevant to children, even after all these years,” said Schmidt, a longtime music educator. “The timeless appeal of The Wizard of Oz speaks to today’s kids in the same way it has for nearly 80 years. The Library of Congress says it’s ‘the most watched film ever,” so most kids know Dorothy’s story, but not necessarily Judy’s. This book brings her extraordinary talent to life again for a new audience of adoring fans.” A limited-edition hardcover book/CD set is available now through the author’s website. The CD features the audiobook, narrated by Grammy-nominated children’s musician Judy Pancoast, as well as rare recordings by the Gumm Sisters, two “lost” test recordings of Judy at age 12, and a live radio performance of “Over the Rainbow.” For more information or to order the limited-edition set, visit the bookstore at www.randylschmidt.com.


Oz in the News 11.4.17

Cinedigm Says All Aboard to THE STEAM ENGINES OF OZ Arcana Studios has produced a steampunk re-imagining of the iconic land of Oz and its well-known inhabitants created by L. Frank Baum. The picture is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Sean Patrick O’Reilly and Erik W. Hendrix. O’Reilly, the founder and CEO of Arcana Studios, also serves as the picture’s writer, director, and executive producer. Dario Sanchez and Michelle O’Reilly are also producers on the film. THE STEAM ENGINES OF OZ features the voice cast of Ron Perlman as Magnus, the son of the Cowardly Lion, with William Shatner as Oscar “Oz” Diggs and Julianne Hough as Locasta, the Witch of the North. Additional voice talent includes Ashleigh Ball, Scott McNeil, Matthew Clark, and Dan Payne. Set a century after Dorothy Gale first clicked her heels together, the once utopic Emerald City is now heavily industrialized and ruled by the iron fist of the once-beloved Tin Man, who has seemingly lost all heart. Oz’s only hope rests with a young engineer, Victoria Wright. With her motley team of ill-mannered munchkins, mischievous flying monkeys, and rough-housing lions, Victoria discovers that even the smallest of heroes can change the world.


Oz in the News 11.3.17

Fairuza Balk Talks Return to Oz Documentary “It was my birthday and I was sad because I was working. I had thought that my mom and everyone had forgotten and I was trying to be a little trooper and not say anything. And then at lunch, Robbie Barnett, who played one of the Wheelers… He came out dressed as a giant bunny on stilts with an enormous carrot. He picked me up and put me up on his shoulders and walked me around on the stilts, and he brought out a big birthday cake and everybody wished me happy birthday. I was just so, so surprised and felt so loved. It’s a very, very pristine and clear memory of how they treated me on that film and how protective and loving everyone was. You hear these horror stories about what kids go through on movies and it wasn’t like that at all. Everyone treated me like I was their kid. It was wonderful.”

Wizard of Oz’s Jerry Maren of the Lollipop​ Guild is the last surviving Munchkin at age of 97 Born in 1920 in Boston, Maren was only 18 at the time of casting and stood just three feet six inches tall. Although he was the youngest of them all when cast as a Munchkin, the actor was specifically picked to play the green-garbed member of the Lollipop Guild and the central figure in the male Munchkin trio. After his screen debut in The Wizard of Oz, Maren continued to act in movies and television shows on occasion, working as Little Oscar for the Oscar Mayer Company in the 1950s as well as portraying Mayor McCheese and the Hamburglar in McDonald’s commercials. In later years, he had a walk-on role in an episode of Seinfeld named “The Yada Yada.” All in all, he’s had different opportunities in show biz, but none as memorable as his Munchkin role.

Oz in the News 10.31.17 Special All Music Edition!

From the creators of the “Waving Through a Window” trio comes a new music video in celebration of Wicked’s 14-year Broadway anniversary. “The Oz Medley” weaves together “One Short Day,” “Popular,” “Dancing Through Life,” “As Long As You’re Mine,” and “Defying Gravity” from Wicked;“Ease on Down the Road” and “Home” from The Wiz; and “If I Only Had a Brain” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz. With an arrangement by David Rowen, the medley was originally created for the a cappella group The Overtones at James Madison University. White at JMU, Rowen was commissioned by the American Heart Association to arrange a medley of music from the three Ozian tales for The Overtones to perform at Oz-themed galas hosted by the association. Now, Rowen has revamped the arrangement and filmed this official music video.

Take a peek behind the scenes of “The Oz Medley.” Meet the cast, listen to interviews, and hear cuts of the medley’s track list!

Trey Anastasio Band Opens Las Vegas Show With A Tribute To Mass Shooting Victims Over the weekend, the Trey Anastasio Band played two nights at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas, offering up several new originals alongside tried and true classics. On opening night at the Bowl Friday evening, TAB delivered a stirring candle light tribute to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting, covering the iconic “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” made famous by Judy Garland  in the 1939 film, The Wizard Of Oz. You can watch some pro-shot video of TAB playing “Over The Rainbow”. TAB continues on with their mini-fall tour Halloween night at The Wiltern in Los Angeles, CA.

OKC Philharmonic to premiere ‘The Wonderful Music of Oz’ as Pops season opener “I was just really intrigued by having music from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and ‘The Wiz’ and ‘Wicked’ and the pop songs like ‘Rainbow Connection’ from ‘The Muppet Movie’ and ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ and all those songs that sort of take that original L. Frank Baum novel as their source material, how that simple story that he wrote has lasted so long and affected people in so many different ways,” said singer, arranger and director Scott Coulter. “But most importantly, I think (about) how the music has captured that story and allowed it to live on forever.” Inspired by the rich musical terrain of Baum’s fantasy land, Coulter is the mastermind of “The Wonderful Music of Oz,” which the Oklahoma City Philharmonic will debut Friday and Saturday at Civic Center Music Hall. Not only will the show launch the orchestra’s 2017-18 Pops season, but the OKC Philharmonic also will be the first to perform Coulter’s new concert concept.

Oz in the News 10.30.17

The annual Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium gala took on a “Wizard of Oz” theme on Oct. 28 at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota The “Wizard of Oz” theme was also evident beyond just the ballroom, because as guests mingled outside in the foyer during cocktail hour they heard the cackling of a wicked witch dressed the part, running around with a broom in hand. Inside, guests were greeted by the ‘Great Cros,’ AKA President and CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory Michael P. Crosby, on the video screen. “There’s no place like Mote!” he assured guests.

Wizard of Oz themed Halloween hay sculptures set alight The Tin Man and Wicked Witch sculptures were part of Derry City and Strabane District council’s Halloween Hay Sculpture Trail. Police said they were set alight at about 20:00 GMT on Sunday. The Halloween Hay Sculpture Trail has been created by local Young Farmers clubs and community groups.  The witch and tin man had been located alongside the town’s iconic ‘Tinnies’ sculptures, on the roundabout beside Lifford Bridge. A spokesperson for Derry and Strabane council said the sculptures have been “extremely popular particularly with families. There is a sense of real disappointment following the damage and we would encourage people to remember that the sculptures are there for everyone to enjoy, and to bring the Halloween festivities right across the city and district”.

Oz in the News 10.29.17

Wicked Witch of the West not always a fright sight Every year at Halloween, I’m reminded of a few certain episodes of Fred Rogers’ iconic educational series which are still etched in my memory, because they included guest appearances by actress Margaret Hamilton. Forever remembered for playing the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1939 classic MGM film “The Wizard of Oz,” Hamilton not only appeared as herself, she also played her pointed hat witch character for scenes and storylines with Rogers’ puppet friends in “The Neighborhood of Make-Believe.” There was a specific purpose for the three episodes of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” during the 1975 and 1976 seasons which featured Hamilton. Fred Rogers wanted his young viewers to understand that Hamilton’s green and mean alter-ego was only an imaginary character and much less scary from the images of the movie screen, as a way to help alleviate fears. Hamilton was a former school teacher who became a popular film and TV character actress and she was also a mother, with one son from her short marriage in the 1930s. For her appearances on “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” when Hamilton did her scenes in the guise of her witch character, she did not wear her full green make-up, instead opting for just her black cloak, cape and pointed hat. However, for a guest appearance on “Sesame Street” earlier in 1976, Hamilton appeared in her full-green make-up and witch’s costume, and the show’s producers were flooded with letters from parents saying it was too frightening for children.

Oz in the News 10.26.17

Lexington bloodstock agent’s own bloodline includes iconic ‘Oz’ author You’d really have to know what you’re looking at to see the clue: Hanging in Lexington bloodstock agent John Donaldson’s office is a print by Maxfield Parrish, “Three Wise Men of Gotham,” which illustrated the story of the same name in the book “Mother Goose in Prose” by Donaldson’s great-grandfather L. Frank Baum. He also has first editions of a number of Baum’s books, with handwritten dedications to Baum’s son, Kenneth Gage Baum, Donaldson’s maternal grandfather, and copies of some of Baum’s original longhand manuscripts. The originals were given to the Library of Congress. The books were split among heirs of the Baum family, including his cousins Dorothy and Craig, children of his aunt Ozma, who Donaldson says was enthusiastic about preserving the family legacy.