SPECIAL OZ GUESTS

This year we are excited to bring to you special guests from all over the Oz universe.


CHILD MUNCHKIN
BETTY ANN KA`IHILANI BRUNO

It’s with great joy and excitement that we welcome BETTY ANN KA`IHILANI BRUNO to her first appearance at OZ-Stravaganza! – and you’ll soon know why. Born in Hawaii, Betty Ann grew up in Southern California, and her memoir has just been published. She defines it as “a collection of stories about interesting, unusual things from my life,” beginning with her Hollywood childhood. The book — available at OZ-Stravaganza! — is affectionately titled THE MUNCHKIN DIARY/MY OWN YELLOW BRICK ROAD. That’s a phrase that honestly describes Betty Ann: she was one of the little girls (“MunchKids”) who filled in and appeared on-camera during the “Munchkinland” sequence” of MGM’s 1939 movie, THE WIZARD OF OZ. Now one of the few survivors of that eighty-three-year-old film, Betty Ann retains vivid recollections of dancing, singing, and working with “the little people” who appeared with her. Her writing is candid, too: she was “ecstatic” to meet adults her own size – despite the fact that “one of [the little gentleman] kept asking my mother if I could go to lunch with him!”

OZ was one of several films in which Betty Ann appeared; another was THE HURRICANE (1937), with Dorothy Lamour and Jon Hall. In her book, Betty Ann admits that (at age four), she “sabotaged take-after-expensive-take” – and she’ll tell you why during OZ-Stravaganza!

Her movie career ended when her parents moved 100 miles away to a farm in the San Jacinto Valley, but her adventures kept right on happening -- whether with her pet pig or her dream-come-true riding horse. She tells of doing a regression to previous lives as part of a series on psychic phenomena, and of going fishing with her dad years after he died.

Several of Betty Ann’s stories deal with her extraordinary television career as an adult, but the book’s main thread describes her struggle with her ethnic identity: of being a brown-skinned girl in “white America,” painfully aware she was growing up at a time when it wasn’t “cool” to be ethnic. Happily, she relates how she was finally able to resolve her identity issues through the hula, which — at age 90 — she still teaches and dances with the performing arts group she founded: Hula Mai in Sonoma’s Valley of the Moon. She also teaches Hawaiian culture there, and two years ago, their Cultural and Fine Arts Commission named her the city’s Treasure Artist, an honor extended through 2021 because of the pandemic.

In between Hollywood and the hula, Betty Ann has enjoyed an equally astounding life: her studies at both Stanford and George Washington Universities, and her decades with Oakland’s KTVU (Channel 2) — first as community affairs producer and anchor, then as a member of the news team (as both an investigative reporter and as a performing arts correspondent). Betty Ann spent twenty-two years with KTVU, winning numerous awards, including three Emmys, the Joey, and an Asian-American Journalists Association National First. She retired in 1992 but continued reporting part-time for two more years. Her husband, Craig Scheiner, was a news editor and videographer at Channel 2, and after his wife’s retirement, they produced commercial videos together.

Again, we are thrilled to welcome Betty Ann – from the actual cast of MGM’s THE WIZARD OF OZ – to the birthplace of L. Frank Baum . . . who started the whole thing!


JOHN FRICKE (Left)

World’s Preeminent Oz and Judy Garland Historian/Author


John Fricke is widely regarded as the world’s preeminent Oz and Judy Garland historian/author. He's a two-time Emmy Award winner as co-producer of Garland TV documentaries; a Grammy Award nominee for “best album notes”; and his latest bookwith Gabriel Galeis THE ART OF OZ, which was published last November. John has written three books about Judy Garland, two about the MGM WIZARD OF OZ film, and two about the entire Oz phenomenon. His next title, WHITE CHRISTMAS: A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF THE CLASSIC HOLIDAY FILM, is due for publication this autumn. John has served as OZ-Stravaganza! emcee since 1990. He has lectured at Hollywood's Turner Classic Movies Film Festival and at Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences; at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art; at France’s Deauville Film Festival; and at London’s National Film Theatre. He delivers the commentary tracks on eight Garland movie DVDs (including THE WIZARD OF OZ), and he has often appeared on TCM, The TODAY Show, CNN, and NPR.

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GABRIEL GALE (Right)
OZ Illustrator (Ages of Oz Series & The Art of Oz)

Gabriel Gale is the creator of the Ages of Oz series, the first two books of which were written by Lisa Fiedler and published by Simon & Schuster: A Fiery Friendship and A Dark Descent. His personal association with Oz and its citizens is described in his greeting at the onset of The Art of Oz, a new book of his illustrations, with text by John Fricke, afterword by Michael Patrick Hearn, and packaged by Jane Lahr for Rizzoli. Mr. Gale was born in Brooklyn, NY, where the Bay Ridge Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library provided his initial passage to Oz. He is a graduate of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. His illustrated talks about Oz have delighted elementary, middle, and high school students from coast-to-coast; he has entertained all ages in similar appearances at bookstores throughout the country, as well as at the major national Oz festivals. When not working in Oz, Mr. Gale makes his home in New York City.

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STEVE MARGOSHES

Composer

Steve Margoshes composed the score for Fame-The Musical, the inspirational show about New York’s High School of the Performing Arts. Famehas played worldwide for 25 years, and is still going strong.

He has orchestrated many Broadway musicals, including Big River (Drama Desk Award), The Who’s Tommy (Drama Desk Award), Aida (by Elton John & Tim Rice), Smokey Joe’s Café, and Soul Doctor (Drama Desk nomination). He has contributed to many Jim Steinman recordings (includingBat Out of Hell), orchestrated Steinman’s musical Tanz der Vampire (directed by Roman Polanski and still running in Germany and Austria after 20 years), and has written special symphonic arrangements for Andrew Lloyd Webber.

With Hair authors James Rado & Gerome Ragni he composed the musicals Sun and Jack Sound. Steve has composed for symphony, ballet, rock recordings, and songs in various styles in addition to his many-faceted shows. An extensive body of his “pops” pieces for orchestra was recorded by the Budapest Symphony on Hungaraton & Albany Records. This Is Forever, an after-life piano rhapsody, featured Steve at the piano with the orchestra. The solo piano version (also with Steve performing) was choreographed by Jacqulyn Buglisi & presented at the Joyce Theater NYC as part of the 20th anniversary of Buglisi Dance Theatre.

Also among the body of work recorded in Budapest is American Parade, which was performed by the West Point Army Band and became the subject of a documentary (of the same name) by filmmaker Frank Basile.

Steve is now writing original OZ themed songs, and as such, is indeed the Songsmith of Oz! He will be discussing the new project "New Songs From Oz" which will cumulate next year with the final song, and he will be sharing snippets of what has been done thusfar this year at the festival.

SHAWN RYAN

Costume Designer for Penguin Point Productions, Orlando, FL

2022 marks Shawn's third appearance at OzStravaganza! Shawn Ryan has been making costumes for theater and special events for 15 years. He attended school for fashion design but has also been self-taught via his own research and creative experimentation. Currently, Shawn is the head costume designer for Penguin Point Productions in Orlando, FL, and also works alongside Pattycake Productions on YouTube to create some of their costumes. Among his theater credits are Chicago, The Producers, Into The Woods, Cinderella, Beauty & The Beast, Hello, Dolly!, and an original musical for Largo, FL’s Lost At Sea. Shawn interned with Susan Hilferty on the workshop of Wonderland: Alice’s New Musical Adventure. (Hilferty is the Tony and Drama Desk Award winner for Best/Outstanding Costume Design for Broadway’s Wicked.) In 2017 he recreated Ozma’s costume from Disney’s Return to Oz for original actress Emma Ridley. For exhibition at 2017's International Wizard of Oz Club national convention, Shawn recreated eleven classic Dorothy Gale costumes, ranging from her original illustration by W.W. Denslow and cataloguing every major production of Oz from stage, film, cartoon, theme park, and even ice. The All Things Oz Museum is the permanent home for some of Shawn's remarkable replicas, including 3 of the Dorothy costumes from the exhibit, and replicas of Glinda The Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West as seen in MGM’s The Wizard of Oz. This year for the first year back since 2019, Shawn plans to make a “wicked splash”!

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