P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2004
July 20, 2004
Sing-A-Long Wizard of Oz at MASS MoCA
(North Adams, Mass.) -- The Tin Man meets Rocky Horror in Sing-A-Long Wizard of Oz at MASS MoCA on Friday, August 20, at 8 P.M. Much more than a movie, at this cinematic event, audience members participate much like the sold-out Sing-A-Long Sound of Music held at the museum two summers ago. This evening, based on the most beloved motion picture of all time, The Wizard of Oz, is a splashy night of theatre and film beautifully restored for the big screen. The audience joins in singing along to some of history's best known and loved songs in a theatre filled with people dressed as their favorite Wizard of Oz character. A spirited master of ceremonies will lead the crowd through a comical interactive guidebook to the evening's audience participation. Plus, a "Perform-A-Long Fun Pack" is provided free with every ticket. Creativity will be generously rewarded during an on-stage costume contest.
The Chicago Sun Times described a recent screening: “Onscreen lyrics as well as occasional dialogue and goodie-bag prop cues help the audience stay with the program. The presence of the Wicked Witch of the West means everyone must boo and hiss. The presence of Toto is a signal to bark; when Glinda the Good Witch appears, everyone waves their wands and blows bubbles (Lawrence Welk would have been so proud), and so on. Parents and their kids howled, barked, cheered, jeered, clapped, booed and sang their hearts out. In between the participatory parts, the audience was seriously into the movie. And the fixated gazes on the faces of the littlest audience members spoke volumes about the film's timeless appeal.”
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer knew they had a special motion picture on their hands, but it would have taken someone with the Wizard's magical capabilities to predict just how The Wizard of Oz would become woven into the everyday fabric of American culture -- beloved by film buffs, children and the eternally young-at-heart. L. Frank Baum's tale of a Kansas girl's journey over the rainbow has become a touchstone for novelists, filmmakers, poets and playwrights, and the film may just wear the crown as the most cherished tale ever presented on the screen.
Released in a year which critics sometimes regard as Hollywood's most glorious year in movies, The Wizard of Oz stood shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the greatest films made to date and received six Academy Award nominations and won two, for score and for the song "Over the Rainbow," plus a special Oscar for Outstanding Performance by a Screen Juvenile for Judy Garland.
MGM re-released the picture a decade after its premiere (when it performed almost as well as in its initial release). For more than forty years it has been a yearly television event. It is estimated that it is one of the most-viewed motion pictures ever made.
The 1939 film suffered some surprising cast changes before filming ever began. Scarecrow Ray Bolger was originally cast as the Tin Man but talked Buddy Ebsen into switching roles. Ebsen was later replaced by Jack Haley when he proved to be allergic to the silver makeup. The part of the Wizard was originally written for W.C. Fields but when the studio couldn’t meet his price he was replaced by Frank Morgan. The Wicked Witch of the West was originally envisioned as glamorous as her goody-goody northern counterpart but later changed to the hideous, green-skinned creature we all know and love today.
The film and Oscar-winning song that made Judy Garland a household name almost never happened. Shirley Temple was originally cast in the part but later dropped out. “Over the Rainbow” was nearly dropped because it slowed down the action. The Wizard of Oz cemented Garland’s place as a star.
Sing-A-Long Wizard of Oz at MASS MoCA is sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union.
Lickety Split will serve full dinners and snacks starting at 7:00 P.M. when the doors open. There will also be a full bar. In case of rain, the film will move indoors where the Hunter Center will have been transformed into a full movie palace.
Tickets to Sing-A-Long Wizard of Oz are $15 for adults and $10 for kids. MASS MoCA members get 10% off. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located on Marshall Street in North Adams from 10 A.M. until 6 P.M. daily. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or online at www.massmoca.org any time.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall St. in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release