Warner Bros. Entertainment to Stage Spectacular Events in New York City to Culminate Worldwide 70th Anniversary Celebration of The Wizard of Oz
Grammy Award Winner Ashanti and Judy Garland's Daughter Lorna Luft to Perform at the Emerald Gala; Original Munchkins to Make a Rare Appearance
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The original 1910 film. Watch or download free movie.
From Beverly Hills to Berlin; from Miami to Melbourne; from big screens to home screens, Warner Bros. Entertainment has for the past year been celebrating the 70th anniversary of an iconic American classic, The Wizard of Oz, with a slate of spectacular festivities spanning the globe. This September, the celebration culminates in New York City with a series of sparkling events.
The festivities will commence on Thursday, September 24, 2009 with the Emerald Gala, a glorious event at Manhattan's historic Tavern on the Green, hosted by its owner and CEO Jennifer Oz LeRoy, granddaughter of The Wizard of Oz producer Mervyn LeRoy.
The entire restaurant and surrounding grounds will transform for a night into the Emerald City, replete with a winding Yellow Brick Road. The Emerald Gala will feature a musical performance by Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter and actress Ashanti, who recently made her theatrical debut as Dorothy in the City Center Encores! production of The Wiz. In addition, Lorna Luft, the daughter of Judy Garland will honor her mother's legacy with a special musical tribute.
Also contributing to the grand affair will be a rare appearance by five of the original actors who played the "Munchkins" characters in 1939's The Wizard of Oz, along with members of the cast of The Wizard of Oz National Tour performing acts from the traveling show.
The Emerald Gala will herald Warner Home Video's September 29 release of The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Editions. Marking an historic benchmark in the format, Warner Home Video continues to maximize what Blu-ray can do for picture and sound. With six times higher resolution than standard DVD along with unparalleled sonic excellence, the film will be at its absolute pristine best, packed with treasured collectibles and brand-new bonus content. A special sneak-peek of the spectacular new gift sets will also be on display at the Tavern on the Green event.
Additionally, presented at the Emerald Gala will be one final exhibition of Warner Bros. Consumer Products' now renowned Ruby Slipper Collection, which consists of 20 noted designers' modern interpretations of Dorothy's classic Ruby Slippers adorned with CRYSTALLIZED(TM) - Swarovski Elements. Since its debut one year ago in New York City to kick off Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, The Collection has toured more than 20 prestigious destinations around the world, including Los Angeles, Miami, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Dubai, Melbourne, and many more.
The Ruby Slipper Collection, original design sketches, as well as select pieces from The Inspirations of Oz Fine Art Collection will be auctioned to benefit long-term philanthropic partner, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. The auction will be conducted online beginning September 10 at rubyslipperauction.com. Fans all over the world will have the opportunity to bid on this renowned collection, with final bids closing and tabulated the evening of September 24, 2009.
"This anniversary year has been a wonderful celebration befitting an American classic like The Wizard of Oz," said Brad Globe, President, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. "Warner Bros. Consumer Products is thrilled to have toured The Ruby Slipper Collection around the country, culminating with what will be a truly memorable charity auction event."
"Warner Home Video is proud to be part of the year-long celebration of this cinematic treasure. When I viewed this Blu-ray version, it was like seeing and hearing the film for the very first time. You're brought into Dorothy's adventure so profoundly that all the endearing Oz characters and unforgettable songs resound as never before," said Ron Sanders, President, Warner Home Video.
"The Wizard of Oz is known worldwide as a beloved, classic and timeless film. To me, it is that and so much more. My grandfather declared I would be forever tied to it by giving me Oz as my middle name and the movie has been integrated into family celebrations all my life. For Tavern on the Green to play a role in its 70th anniversary is an exciting honor. And the partnership between Warner Bros. and Tavern for this salute seems almost fated - my great grandfather, Harry Warner, was one of the original Warner Bros.," added Jennifer Oz LeRoy, CEO of Tavern on the Green.
"As we celebrate our own milestone -- 20 years of leading the fight against pediatric HIV/AIDS -- we are honored that Warner Bros. has included us as the philanthropic partner of its year-long anniversary celebration. The proceeds from the online Ruby Slipper Auction will help us continue to build a future of hope for children and families across the world, and to create a generation free of HIV," said Pamela Barnes, President and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
The week in New York City will also include appearances in various Big Apple locations by the grand Wizard of Oz Hot Air Balloon, a seven-and-a-half story stunningly decorated balloon that will be concluding the final leg of its nationwide tour.
On Saturday, September 26, Warner Bros. Entertainment will continue celebrating The Wizard Oz with a star-studded, exclusive screening at Alice Tully Hall as part of this year's New York Film Festival, which is produced by the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Visit www.thewizardofoz.com, the official site for all Oz-related events and products.
Warner Home Video: With operations in 90 international territories, Warner Home Video, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, commands the largest distribution infrastructure in the global video marketplace. Warner Home Video's film library is the largest of any studio, offering top quality new and vintage titles from the repertoires of Warner Bros. Pictures, Turner Entertainment, Castle Rock Entertainment, HBO Home Video and New Line Home Entertainment.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products: Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.
The Wizard of Oz: The Wizard of Oz is one of the most beloved and iconic motion pictures of all time filled with timeless sentiments and values cherished by multiple generations. Originally released in 1939, more than one billion consumers have experienced the classic story of Dorothy and friends in the Land of Oz.
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation: The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is a worldwide leader in the fight against pediatric AIDS. Its innovative research programs, collaborative training initiatives, advocacy efforts, and rapidly expanding international prevention and treatment programs are bringing dramatic changes to the lives of children worldwide. To learn more about the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and its programs, visit www.pedaids.org.
Tavern on the Green: Opened in 1934, Tavern on the Green has been operated by the LeRoy family since 1974 when Warner LeRoy (current owner Jennifer LeRoy's father) took on the lease for the landmark property, then in serious disrepair and essentially abandoned. After a two-year, $10 million renovation, Tavern on the Green re-emerged as a dazzling dining destination that was immediately embraced by New York City. Under the LeRoy leadership it has become an international icon as one the world's most famous and successful restaurants hosting nearly 700,000 people annually.
The Wizard of Oz National Tour: The greatest family musical of all time, The Wizard of Oz, is touching down in theaters across the country as NETworks Presentations brings this live touring production to over 70 cities, opening October 2009 in Worcester, MA and twisting its way across North America to cities such as Knoxville, TN., Austin, TX., Pittsburgh, PA, and Anchorage, AK! To see if the show The New York Times calls a "lavish stage production" with "colorful costumes, witty choreography, and cool lighting," is coming to a city near you visit www.WizardofOzonTour.com.
THE WIZARD OF OZ and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and Turner Entertainment Co.
BURBANK, Calif., Aug. 11, 2009 /PRNewswire/ --