Oz in the News 10.6.17

OZtoberFest to feature several Oz celebrities MGM’s legendary motion picture of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz book has enchanted audiences since its premiere in 1939. A major component of its unforgettable appeal is the performance of Margaret Hamilton, who has given millions of viewers an eternal dose of gleeful terror in her role as the Wicked Witch of the West. Her son, Hamilton Meserve, serves as keynote speaker of OZtoberFest! 2017 with his illustrated presentation, “OZ, The Witch, and Mom.” Joining him on Wamego’s special guest roster are the acclaimed Shanice Williams — who triumphed over several hundred other applicants to win the role of Dorothy in NBC-TV’s musical production of The Wiz Live! in December 2015 – and Gabriel Gale, conceptualizer and coauthor of the new book trilogy for children and young adults, Ages of Oz. Simon & Schuster published its first volume, A Fiery Friendship, in May. All three will be presented and/or interviewed onstage by best-selling author and Emmy Award-winning producer John Fricke, perennial OZtoberFest! master of ceremonies and preeminent Oz and Judy Garland historian.  Additional, returning guests for 2017 include: Paul Miles Schneider of Lawrence, author of Silver Shoes and The Powder of LifeJohnPaul Cafiero, whose family’s extraordinary collection makes up a great percentage of material showcased at Wamego’s OZ Museum; Ryan Jay, nationally-known film critic; and Jane Albright, current president of The International Wizard of Oz Club.


Oz in the News 10.5.17

Author Michelle Russell to speak at Oaklands Mansion On Sunday, Oct. 8, Oaklands Mansion will host celebrated author Michelle Russell as she discusses her two-part book series: “From Tennessee To Oz: The Amazing Saga of Judy Garland’s Family.” This event will be held in the front parlor of Oaklands Mansion, home to the Darrow family from 1884-1912. Russell will focus on East Main Street life and the surprising romance of Garland’s grandparents, the beautiful Clemmie Baugh and the handsome Will Gumm – a marriage that quickly evolves into a darkly suspenseful tale. Due to the historical information author Michelle Russell was able to uncover, “From Tennessee to Oz” often reads more like a novel than a history book. Attendees will learn of the hard times Judy Garland’s father, Frank Gum, experienced as a child and the surprising and generous gift he received from George Darrow, a gift which changed his life and the future of the Gum family. “Few people know the connection between Judy Garland and Oaklands. Here is your opportunity to learn what brought these Rutherford County families together. And what better place to find out than in the very house they once occupied?” said James Manning, executive director of Oaklands Mansion. Reservations are required as this event has limited seating. To make reservations, please visit http://www.oaklandsmansion.org, call Oaklands at (615) 893-0022 or email info@oaklandsmansion.org. Admissio

Oz in the News 10.3.17

Judy Garland’s Final Concert Will Be Released for the First Time in 2018 An audio recording of film star and gay icon Judy Garland’s final concert, captured three months before her death in Copenhagen, will be released following a high-definition transfer and restoration from a Denmark radio broadcast. Garland’s performance at Falkoner Centret on March 25, 1969, featured a set list that included “Get Happy,” “The Man That Got Away,” and “Over the Rainbow”: the song she introduced in the 1939 movie musical The Wizard of Oz that became her signature. The release will also include two newly-discovered tracks from a recording made by the concert hall itself: “Till the Clouds Roll By” and “Am I Blue?” (both duets with Johnny Ray). The recording will be made available in several high-definition formats, including DSD, PCM, and as a physical disc.

Wicked celebrates twelfth year Wicked, the smash hit musical that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, flies into its 12th year at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre. The much-loved musical will become the 15th longest running show in London theatre history on 19th October 2017, when it surpasses the run of We Will Rock You. In celebration of the production’s birthday, a series of stunning new principal cast portraits, by photographer Darren Bell, have been released.

Oz in the News 10.2.17

Son of Wicked Witch of the West actor, Dorothy from ‘The Wiz Live!’ among celebrities to appear at Wamego’s OztoberFest Since Wamego’s signature event OztoberFest began 13 years ago, organizers have continuously worked to keep its offerings current. “The actors who played the munchkins used to come to the festival, and the festival was very large back then, but since then the munchkins have all passed away except for one, so the festival started dying a little bit,” said Kimberley Shepherd, Oz Museum gift shop operations manager and one of the event organizers. “So we had to start bringing in newer generations of Oz dignitaries.” This year, Oz celebrities include Gabriel Gale, who conceptualized and co-wrote the new book trilogy “Ages of Oz”; Shanice Williams, who played Dorothy in NBC’s TV production of “The Wiz Live!”; and Hamilton Meserve, the event’s keynote speaker, with his illustrated presentation “OZ, The Witch, and Mom.”

Oz in the News 9.28.17

A terrifying Halloween event based on The Wizard of Oz is taking place in a Welsh derelict chapel The teams’ aim is to escape terrors from the 1939 Judy Garland film featuring the Lion, Witch, Tin Man, Scarecrow, Munchkins, winged monkeys and more, all set in a universe where things have gone terribly wrong. It’s the brainchild of Toby Brandon, creative director of Twins of Evil Attractions, who said: “You think of the word ‘Oz’ and you think of The Wizard of Oz. Regardless of where you are from or how old you are. It’s probably one of biggest films in the world, so I thought ‘how can I take it and really twist it?’ Toby was coy on what exactly it is, but said there will be a “world record” involved in the scary event.

Five things you didn’t know about “Over the Rainbow”  #3 – Less than a year after The Wizard of Oz premiered, MGM used the song again in another film, the social comedy The Philadelphia Story. Katherine Hepburn, playing a wealthy socialite on the eve of her wedding, and James Stewart, a tabloid reporter sent to get a scoop on the event, share a drunken midnight swim at her family estate. As he carries her back to the house, Stewart sings a garbled version of the song:“Some day over the rainbow,” he croons, much to the delight of a groggy Hepburn.

Cast Announced For Wicked 2018 Uk & Ireland Tour Audiences across the country can look forward to seeing a cast including the likes of Amy Ross (Elphaba) and Helen Woolf (Glinda) Defying Gravity as the magnificent musical Wicked tours in 2018. Ross, who most recently starred as in fellow West End hits Kinky Boots (as Nicola) and Sunny Afternoon (playing Joyce), and Woolf (Wicked, West End), will be joined by the likes of Steven Pinder (The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond), Kim Ismay (Madame Morrible), Emily Shaw (Nessarose), Iddon Jones (Boq) and Nikki Bentley (Standby for Elphaba), along with the previously announced Aaron Sidwell (Fiyero), in leading the cast of the forthcoming return engagement of Wicked’s UK & Ireland Tour in 2018.

Oz in the News 9.22.17

Why ‘Wicked’ Is A Sneaky Story That Celebrates A Free Society I was quite suspicious of it going in, because I sensed, from reading reviews, that it had a political slant. And the first few moments of the performance were a bit uncomfortable. However, I soon realized that there is a blue-pill way of viewing “Wicked.” That’s what most people will come away with, and probably what the creators of the musical intended. Broadway, and the theater community in general, is notoriously friendly to progressive, feminist, LGBT themes. However, there is a red-pill way to view “Wicked,” and once you start viewing it this way, you can’t un-see it. Generally speaking, works of art should be apolitical mirrors that show us distilled deeper truth than we usually see in daily life. So it is with “Wicked.”

Oz in the News 9.21.17

Ohio Wizard of Oz Festival September 22-24, 2017 Macedonia, Ohio http://www.wizardofozohio.com (PRNewsfoto/Ohio Wizard of Oz Festival)

Ohio Wizard of Oz Festival September 22-24, 2017 Macedonia, Ohio The 1900 Book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is coming to life this Friday, September 22nd thru Sunday, September 24th in Longwood Park, Macedonia, Ohio. Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, Glinda, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Toto too will be in Longwood Park, Macedonia, Ohio to take pictures with all their fans, also take you down the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City! Some of the other exciting events planned are: 

  • Emerald City Gala-At the Bertram Inn & Conference Center 600 N. Aurora Rd., Ohio 44202 this event will include: Dinner, Entertainment, Silent Auction, and meet fellow Oz fans & collectors. This is at the Bertram Inn Friday, September 22, 2017 at 6PM
  • World Record attempt to have the largest gathering of people dressed as characters from the Wizard of Oz current record is 1,093 people. This will be at Longwood Park, Macedonia, Ohio on Saturday, September 23, 2017starting at 1PM
  • OZ & Judy Garland Expo-Silent Auction, Wizard of Oz & Judy Garland Memorabilia, Oz Display and More!
  • Breakfast with Dorothy & Friends at the Bertram Inn Sunday, September 24, 2017 starting at 9AM
  • Wonderful Wizard of Oz Costume Contests for Children & Adults
  • “Wizard of Oz” Marionette show by renowned Stevens Puppets- www.stevenspuppets.com
  • Munchkin Land Carnival with Games, Crafts Stations, Painting Parties, etc.
  • Various Entertainment-Magicians, Musicians, Face Painters, etc.