Special Guests for 2017 Oz-Stravaganza!
Jane Lahr is the only daughter of Bert Lahr, the legendary "Cowardly Lion" of the classic 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie musical, THE WIZARD OF OZ. As such, she is both an ebullient exponent of “the second generation of Oz" and -- in her own right -- a highly successful author, editor, and anthologist. Her thirty-five years of experience in publishing encompasses work as a founding partner of Stewart, Tabori & Chang, as Associate Publisher of Greenwich Workshop Press, as Director of Advertising, Publicity and Promotion at Harry N. Abrams, and as Director of Special Sale for Abbeville Press.
She comes to Chittenango to celebrate her father, whose career spanned six decades and included triumphs in the theater, in motion pictures, and on television. Lahr played everything from burlesque to Shakespeare, from vaudeville to Aristophanes, from Broadway musicals to WAITING FOR GODOT. Most memorably – and incomparably -- he companioned Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley (and Toto, too…) on the Yellow Brick Road to Oz in the best-known, best-loved motion picture of all-time. When Lahr, pun-in-cheek, sighed “If I Only Had the Nerve” -- or forever devastated the vibrato/bravado posturings of classical baritones in “If Were King of the Forest” – he achieved a never-surpassed combination of comedic and heart-rending artistry.
Jane began her career at Harry N. Abrams, Inc., where she pioneered the area of Special Sales and became Director of Advertising, Publicity, and Promotion. She left Abrams to help co-found Stewart, Tabori & Chang, where she was pivotal in the packaging and marketing of GRAND MOTHER REMEMBERS. With Lena Tabori, she co-edited LOVE/A CELEBRATION IN ART & LITERATURE, which is now in its twenty-fourth year of publication.
She has packaged such books as JEAN HOWARD'S HOLLYWOOD and ONLY THE BEST and edited THE CELTIC QUEST, a selection of both the Book of the Month Club and the Literary Guild. In May 2006, Welcome Books (distributed by Random House) published Lahr's SEARCHING FOR MARY MAGDALENE: A JOURNEY IN ART & LITERATURE, which won an Independent Book Publisher Award in the category of religion in 2007. That same year, Jane co-edited Joan Grant's SPEAKING FROM THE HEART: REINCARNATION & WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HUMAN. She is partner in the book packaging/agenting company, Lahr & Partners LLC. In addition to developing and promoting traveling exhibitions, Jane includes such artists as Maurice Sendak, Milton Glaser, Paul Jenkins, Robert Rahway Zakanitch, Joseph Raffael among her clients.
The sister of THE NEW YORKER drama critic John Lahr, Jane was married to theater critic Martin Gottfried. She is now married to Sherman E. Crites of Stonington, CT, and Columbia, MO. Her daughter is writer Maya Gottfried.
Jane is on the Board of Directors of The Abby Whiteside Foundation and The School of Images, both in New York City; the latter establishment was founded by Dr. Catherine Shainberg in 1982.
Ryan Jay is a popular TV and radio film critic, appearing weekly on NBC-TV in Milwaukee, WI and nationally syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks on FM stations across America. He is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association which annually awards excellence in film at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards.
Most passionate about movies and pop culture, Ryan has cultivated a career celebrating entertainment and sharing his unique perspective with audiences. Often on the red carpet at movie premieres and events, he has interviewed many of Hollywood’s A-list celebrities; most notably, working with the cast and filmmakers of Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful and filmmakers of Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return during their respective press weeks for their world premieres; marking professional and personal highlights for him, a self-proclaimed “diehard, lifelong Oz fan” and collector.
Ryan can be found every other week in the pages of Us Weekly magazine as Fashion Police. Prior to his career as an entertainment journalist, he worked as a television producer of major pop culture programming for networks such as Bravo, Showtime, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, TLC, and even The Jerry Springer Show.
For more info, including his movie reviews, visit his website, www.RyanJayReviews.com.
Tina Marie Casamento Libby
Tina Marie Casamento Libby (Conceiving Producer/ Additional Lyrics) is a producer, director, teacher, and actress with over thirty years experience in the industry. After successfully pitching her concept for Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz to EMI Music Publishing (thereby securing the rights to the MGM/Feist Robbins music catalog), she has spearheaded this new musical through numerous workshops, readings and two developmental productions. Tina Marie served as Chair and National Theatre/Musical Theatre Panelist of YoungArts for 4 years, and was presented the Teacher Recognition Award by the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. She has directed productions at Infinity Theatre Company, Gallery Players, and Village Light Opera Group. She attended Carnegie Mellon University (acting), as well as the University of Maryland (recipient, full scholarship in Creative and Performing Arts). She performed in the First National tours of Kiss Me Kate (2000 revival, Kate/Hattie u/s) and Victor Victoria (Street Singer), the Fulton Theatre production of Into The Woods (Baker's Wife), and Submissions Only (Poppy Cosgrove). She also brings her twelve-plus years as a casting associate for NETworks tours and Bob Cline casting to university masterclasses and workshops throughout the country.