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Wizard of Oz: Following the Yellow Brick Road for One Year

Lorna Luft, Ashanti and cast of National Touring Wizard of Oz

Lorna Luft, Ashanti and cast of National Touring Wizard of Oz

NEW YORK, Sep 26, 2009 / FW/ — Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the iconic American classic, “The Wizard of Oz” began in New York and also ends in New York.

The launch of the year-long celebration was at Saks Fifth Avenue flagship, with all of its store windows dedicated to the re-imagined ruby slippers by today’s fashion designers.

Then, there was also an exhibit at the tents in Bryant Park during the whole duration of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

Traversing the Yellow Brick Road from New York to Los Angeles, the ruby slippers exhibition moved to the FIDM museum.

Ashanti

Ashanti

Now, after a year on the road, the year-long 70th anniversary celebration has come full circle. The celebration culminates this month in New York City with a series of festivities that commenced with last night’s Emerald Gala.

The glorious gala at Manhattan’s Tavern on the Green transported guests to the wondrous world of Oz.

The entire restaurant and surrounding grounds were transformed for a night into the Emerald City, replete with a winding “Yellow Brick Road,” fields of poppies, and a special appearance by the seven-and-a-half story stunningly decorated Wizard of Oz Hot Air Balloon.

The event honoring the classic film’s milestone was attended by such notables as five of the original actors who played the “Munchkins” characters in The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland’s daughter Lorna Luft, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter and actress Ashanti and Jennifer Oz LeRoy, CEO and owner of Tavern on the Green and granddaughter of The Wizard of Oz producer Mervyn LeRoy.

Show-stopping performances by Ashanti, who graced the stage to perform Somewhere Over the Rainbow and The Way That I Love You, and Lorna Luft, who honored her mother’s legacy with a special musical tribute with “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby” and Wizard of Oz medley composed especially for the Emerald Gala, enchanted the audience.

cast of National Touring Wizard of Oz

cast of National Touring Wizard of Oz

Also contributing to the grand affair was the cast of the highly entertaining The Wizard of Oz National Tour, with Dorothy and Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion, all adding fun and excitement down the “Yellow Brick Road.”

The cast performed If I Only Had a Brain on the main stage and served as the evening’s colorful emcees.

The Emerald Gala heralded Warner Home Video’s September 29 Blu-ray and DVD 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 collectibles and new bonus content.

The Wizard of OZ 70th Anniversary Emerald Gala in celebration

The Wizard of OZ 70th Anniversary Emerald Gala in celebration

Additionally, presented at the Emerald Gala was the final exhibition of Warner Bros. Consumer Products’ now world renowned Ruby Slipper Collection, which consists of 20 noted designers’ modern interpretations of Dorothy’s classic Ruby Slippers adorned with CRYSTALLIZED™ – Swarovski Elements.

Since its debut one year ago at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City, 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 designer sketches, as well as select pieces from The Inspirations of Oz Fine Art Collection are being auctioned at rubyslipperauction.com to benefit EGPAF.

Attending guests of the Emerald Gala had the opportunity to bid live from the Crystal Room of Tavern on the Green, with final bids closing and tabulated on September 30.