Go Off to see THE WIZARD OF OZ this afternoon at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater

RRT Wizard_of_oz_movie_poster“Follow the Yellow Brick Road”

“There’s No Place Like Home”

“I’ll Get You, My Pretty”

“And Toto, too!”

Those are just a few of the famous lines from the iconic 1939 MGM Technicolor classic The Wizard of Oz.  The CALS Ron Robinson Theater will be screening it today (February 13) at 2pm for $5.  Concessions are available for purchase.

Based on the L. Frank Baum novel (which launched a series of books), this film was directed by Victor Fleming (who also received credit for directing another 1939 classic – Gone with the Wind – but that’s another story).  For Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley and Margaret Hamilton – this film was the source of their iconic roles.  Frank Morgan played the titular role, while Billie Burke essayed the role of Glinda.

The movie was nominated for six Oscars, and picked up two – Best Score (Herbert Stothart) and Best Song (E. Y. “Yip” Harburg and Harold Arlen for “Over the Rainbow”).  The year 1939 has largely been considered the best  year for movies during the Golden Age of Hollywood, so picking up two Oscars in the year of Gone with the Wind, Ninotchka, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Stage Coach, Wuthering Heights, Intermezzo, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame is quite an accomplishment.

While now viewed as a classic, it took 14 writers and five directors as well as several re-castings to get the movie finished.  This afternoon is the chance to see it again on the big screen.

Tonight at 7 – AR Symphony River Rhapsodies series starts with Jon Kimura Parker

ASO lowres-jkp-321The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Philip Mann, Music Director and Conductor, presents the opening concert of the 2015-2016 River Rhapsodies Chamber Music Series: Artist of Distinction: Jon Kimura Parker on September 29, 2015 at 7:00 PM.

ASO musicians including the Rockefeller Quartet are joined by the 2015-2016 Richard Sheppard Arnold Artist of Distinction, pianist Jon Kimura Parker, for music from Borodin, Hirtz, and Beethoven in the beautiful Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Center. A cash bar is open at 6 PM and at intermission, and patrons are invited to carry drinks into the hall. Media sponsor for the River Rhapsodies Chamber Music Series is KUAR/KLRE.

Tickets are $23; active duty military and student tickets are $10 are can be purchased online at www.ArkansasSymphony.org; at the Clinton Presidential Center box office beginning 60 minutes prior to a concert; or by phone at 501-666-1761, ext. 100.


Jon Kimura Parker, piano

Rockefeller Quartet:

  • Katherine Williamson, violin
  • Trisha McGovern, violin
  • Katherine Reynolds, viola
  • Aaron Ludwig, cello

Leanna Booze, oboe

Kelly Johnson, clarinet

Susan Bell León, bassoon

David Renfro, horn


BORODIN                            String Quartet No. 2 in D Major

HIRTZ                                    Wizard of Oz Fantasy

BEETHOVEN                       Quintet for Piano and Winds, Op. 16

Program Notes:

Mr. Parker on Hirtz’s Fantasy, from http://www.jonkimuraparker.com:

My friend and colleague, the composer William Hirtz, can work pianistic miracles out of harmony, rhythm and texture. Several years ago he showed me a piano duet Fantasy that he had composed using several of Harold Arlen’s iconic themes from the “Wizard of Oz” soundtrack. It was joyous, technically raucous, and seemingly featured dozens of notes all at once. I jokingly commented that I if he could arrange this Fantasy for one piano two hands, I would happily play it. I thought nothing more about it.

Fast forward several months: one day my fax machine started up and several insanely dotted pages spewed forth. I recognized the music – it was indeed the Fantasy arranged for two hands – but couldn’t imagine how it might be played. I called Bill and complained, “Hey, didn’t you know that when you rearrange a four hand work for two hands, that you’re supposed to leave out some of the notes!!

Here is the Wizard of Oz music in all its glory. It’s one of the most difficult works I’ve played, period. If you’re a pianist and would like to order a copy of either the two handed or (more reasonably playable) four handed version, feel free to contact William Hirtz directly at w.hirtz@att.net.

About Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 50th season in 2015-2016, under the leadership of Music Director Philip Mann. ASO is the resident orchestra of Robinson Center Music Hall, and performs more than sixty concerts each year for more than 165,000 people through its Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series, ACXIOM Pops LIVE! Series, River Rhapsodies Chamber Music Series, and numerous concerts performed around the state of Arkansas, in addition to serving central Arkansas through numerous community outreach programs and bringing live symphonic music education to over 26,000 school children and over 200 schools.

For more information about the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra call 501-666-1761 or visit www.ArkansasSymphony.org

WIZARD OF OZ with Ark Symphony this weekend


The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Philip Mann, Music Director and Conductor, presents the fourth concert in its 2013-2014 Acxiom Pops Live! Series: Wizard of Oz with Orchestra on March 8 at 8 p.m. and March 9 at 3 p.m. at the Robinson Center Music Hall.  Media sponsor for the Pops Live! Series is The Point 94.1.

The ASO will screen the entire classic film The Wizard of Oz while the lush score is performed by live symphonic orchestra. The ASO will perform the live score while the film itself is projected on the big screen. Audiences will hear and see Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Frank Morgan, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Billie Burke and Margaret Hamilton as well as the rest of the cast from this classic film alongside Arkansas’ own Symphony Orchestra. The ASO will be playing Harold Arlen’s score live as the movie plays overhead.

Single tickets are $18, $34, $47 and $59; active military and student tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.ArkansasSymphony.org; at the Robinson Center box office 90 minutes prior to a concert; or by phone at 501-666-1761.  All Arkansas students grades K-12 are admitted to Sunday’s matinee free of charge with purchase of an adult ticket using Entergy Kids’ Ticket, downloadable at the ASO website.

When The Wizard of Oz was originally recorded in the late 1930s, it was a technical marvel for MGM. The orchestral score was recorded separately from the actors voices, giving Emmy-Award winning producer John Goberman (Live from Lincoln Center, A Symphonic Night at the Movies) the inspiration to create Oz with Orchestra, in which audiences will experience Harold Arlen’s lush, live orchestration backing the original 1939 studio recordings of Judy Garland, Roy Bolger and the rest of the characters singing the classic music from the film.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 48th season in 2013-2014 under the leadership of Music Director Philip Mann. ASO is the resident orchestra of Robinson Center Music Hall, and performs more than thirty concerts each year for more than 42,000 people through its Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series, ACXIOM Pops LIVE! Series and Parker Lexus River Rhapsodies Chamber Series, in addition to serving central Arkansas through numerous community outreach programs and bringing live symphonic music education to over 24,000 school children and over 200 schools.

“Popular” WICKED back in the Rock for 2 weeks

wickedOz returns to the Rock as the Tony winning musical Wicked returns to Robinson Center Music Hall from September 25 through October 6. When Wicked was here in 2010, it set box office records.  It also sold out in a record time.

Based on the best-selling 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire, Wicked, has won a Grammy and three Tony Awards.  Wicked features songs by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, and Working) and a book by Winnie Holzman (“My So Called Life,” “Once And Again” and “thirtysomething”).  It tales the untold story of the witches of Oz.  The musical is directed by two-time Tony Award-winner Joe Mantello (Take Me Out; Assassins; The Receptionist).

Two other girls meet in the Land of Oz.  One – born with emerald-green skin – is smart, fiery and misunderstood.  The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular.  “Wicked” tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, and how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.

Presented by Celebrity Attractions, the production takes center stage at Robinson Center Music Hall for a limited two-week engagement.

The performance schedule is as follows:

  • 7:30 p.m Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday
  • 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday
  • 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26 (special matinee)

Prices start at $43.

Tickets can be purchased here, or by calling (501) 244-8800 or stopping by the Celebrity Attractions Box Office at 300 S. Spring, Little Rock.

For more information about the performances, click here.

Wiz Biz at Ark Rep

Melson, Williams, Stewart and Alexzander (photo by Cindy Momchilov, courtesy of the Arkansas Rep)There will be a whirlwind of activity as the Arkansas Rep opens The Wiz tomorrow night. This Tony Award winning super soulful retelling of The Wizard of Oz features a witty book by William F. Brown and a score by Charlie Smalls that is infused with blues, R&B, gospel, disco, jazz and good old fashioned razzmatazz.

This production (which runs through April 1 – no fooling, it closes that day) is directed by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, who has directed A Raisin in the Sun and Dreamgirls at the Rep.  The cast includes Carla Stewart at Dorothy, Nik Alexzander as the Scarecrow, Tony Melson as the Tin Man, Darryl Jovan Williams as the Lion, and Baci as Toto.  Sinclair Mitchell plays both Uncle Henry and the title character, while Zoie Morris plays both Aunt Em and Glinda.  Jennifer Leigh Warren, who was in the original New York casts of Little Shop of Horrors and Big River will be playing Addapearle (a good witch) and Evilene (the wicked witch).

The creative team for this production includes Set Designer: Mike Nichols, Lighting Designer: Douglas Cox, Costume Designer: Rafael Colon Castanera, Properties Designer: Lynda J. Kwallek, Sound Designer: M. Jason Pruzin, Music Director: Charles Creath and Choreographer: James Harkness.