January 8, 2010
PHILADELPHIA is still the Emerald City, but we no longer resemble Oz. At least not the one on HBO that protrayed hellish conditions in an overcrowded prison. According to a story in yesterday's Daily News, the city has managed to reduce the prison population by just over 1,000 - from 9,767 to 8,587. Credit goes to Mayor Nutter, Prisons Commissioner Louis Giorla, and Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everett Gillison for moves that included transferring many prisoners to the state system, where they belonged, and moving nonviolent offenders more quickly through the system.
May 17, 2004
FOR MORE than three years, I have suspected that the Bush administration is psychotic. I haven't room to list all the reasons, but here are some musings on its pathology: First, we know there is a well-established link between conservatism and fear. I would add isolation and the ignorance that often accompanies it to this phenomenon. Bush and his bully boys and girl are motivated not only by corporate greed, but also by their own chickenness - and the unconsious projection of their own terrors and hostilities (and guilts)
November 24, 1995 |
Set designer Rob Odorisio is too tall to be a Munchkin, but he has an elfin gleam in his eye as he winds his way through the bang and clatter of the Walnut Street Theater's scene shop. A bona fide holiday extravaganza - utilizing the Royal Shakespeare Company's adaptation of the MGM film - his "Wizard of Oz" plays through Jan. 7. With a production cost estimated at $60,000, "The Wizard of Oz" is the largest musical the Walnut has ever mounted. Its multiple sets, massive moving components, working Yellow Brick Road, special effects, cast of 50 (plus two dogs)
May 10, 2000 |
The tornado that whisked Dorothy out of Kansas in the "Wizard of Oz" had nothing on that human tornado named Judy Garland who played her. Talk about a force to be reckoned with! More than 30 years after her death, Garland still fascinates. And in a new biography, "Get Happy" (Random House, $29.95), veteran journalist Gerald Clarke recaps her life in more incredible detail than has ever been told before. Garland was unusually gifted. She could sing. She could act. She could mesmerize an audience.
December 6, 1995 |
"Tis the season. The annual round of theatrical extravaganzas has begun, each production hoping to whet your festive appetite. The Walnut Street Theatre's contribution to the holiday menu is "The Wizard of Oz. " The company's staging of the beloved MGM classic "The Wizard of Oz" is ambitious. Unfortunately, this holiday spectacle is technically akin to Mother Goose's little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead. When it's good, it's very, very good. But when it's bad . . . To be sure, the company starts out at a deficit - trying to duplicate on stage what took multiple takes, even with the magic of filmmaking - but even without such trickery, there are certain things you just gotta get right, when you're wrangling Dorothy's magical mystery tour through the land of Oz. Like, the people who "fly" can't look so obviously like actors wearing harnesses attached to (thick)
February 28, 1998 |
Tom Fontana sleeps four hours a night. No one can figure out where he finds the time. He rises at 5:30 every morning in his New York apartment. For the next five hours, he hunches over his desk writing new episodes of the groundbreaking HBO prison series "Oz," or rewriting scripts for "Homicide," which many critics call the best drama on network TV. Fontana co-produces both shows with director Barry Levinson, and the pair also has about a dozen other TV shows in various stages of development, including a firefighter drama for CBS and an old-fashioned variety show - "Ed Sullivan with a '90s, twisted edge" - for ABC. By 11 a.m., Fontana is on the elaborate set of "Oz" on the sixth floor of the Chelsea Market building in Manhattan.
November 24, 1995 |
"This yellow brick road seems to go on forever," sighs our weary heroine toward the first-act finale of The Wizard of Oz, which runs through Jan. 7 at the Walnut Street Theatre, but she doesn't know the half of it. Everything in this misbegotten adaptation seems to go on forever. Everything, that is, except the yellow brick road itself. There is no yellow brick road - which, inasmuch as the script slavishly echoes the screenplay of the much-loved movie, seems decidedly odd. But perhaps one shouldn't complain about the omission, for virtually every other scenic effect is of such tacky ineptitude that you might think the production was designed by the humbug wizard himself.
February 20, 1990 |
Jack Haley Jr. remembers he was about 8 when he first saw MGM's "The Wizard of Oz. " "I was with Gary Crosby, who is working with me now. It was a Saturday morning in a Beverly Hills theater, when kids got in for 11 cents. It was an eye-popping, jaw-dropping experience. "The first thing I thought was, 'Gee, there's my father up there, there's Uncle Bert, there's Uncle Ray and there's that nice Miss Garland, who served me tea on the set," he said, referring to Jack Haley Sr. (the Tin Man)
November 19, 2002
ANOTHER election has come and gone. As usual, the majority of Philly voters went for the Democratic candidates. We will now have a Democratic governor along with our Demo mayor. Hey, folks: D.C. will be under Republican control. The feds will probably give this state/city the same respect as a fur salesman would get at a PETA rally. Politics in Philadelphia reminds me of the city of Oz. Somewhere in City Hall, Frank Keel stands behind a big curtain and pretends that he is Mayor Street.
September 20, 2013 |
In Hollywood, facelifts are so commonplace it won't raise an eyebrow that on the eve of its 75th birthday, The Wizard of Oz has had some work done. Digital wizards have converted the beloved 1939 film to 3-D for a one-week-only engagement at Imax theaters from Friday through Sept. 26. Oz is so hallucinatory to begin with that a 3-D retrofit threatens, with the force of a Kansas twister, to blow moviegoer minds. Happily, the conversion has been done with restraint and respect.