|The Muppets Wizard of Oz was released in 2005 and stars pop/R&B diva Ashanti as Dorothy, a sassy wannabe music star who's bored to death living the slow life in Kansas, working at her Auntie Em's (Queen Latifah) diner. Dorothy misses her chance to audition for a travelling "Star Search" type show run by the Muppets, then she's swept up by a tornado and deposited in Oz—along with Toto (Pepe the Prawn King). To get back to Kansas, she must appease the mysterious Wizard by going on a quest to get the magic eye of the Wicked Witch of the West. Kermit the Frog is the Scarecrow, Fozzie Bear is the Cowardly Lion, and Gonzo is the Tin Man. Miss Piggy plays three different witches, good, bad, and narcissistic. Honeydew and Beaker show up as high-tech henchman who pull off the illusions of the Wizard (Jeffrey Tambor), the Wizard of Oz takes a completely different form depending on whoever gazes upon him.
The film was co-produced by The Jim Henson Company in association with Fox Television Studios, Touchstone Television, and the The Muppets Studio. Pre-production on The Muppets' Wizard of Oz took place throughout February 2004, and filming occurred during September 2004. ABC made several changes to the film after the initial script was written, ultimately deciding to base the film on L. Frank Baum's original novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz instead of the 1939 film. As with the preceding Muppet films, The Muppets' Wizard of Oz became a musical, and included five new songs written and composed by Michael Giacchino.
The Muppets' Wizard of Oz premiered on April 27, 2005 at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film's television premiere was broadcast on ABC on May 20, 2005. Overall, the film ended up receiving negative reviews from critics. Most critics agreed that the film was too mature for young audiences, and that the cameo scenes and popular culture marks were unnecessary.
The 1900 novel by L. Frank Baum The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has been adapted into several different works, the most famous being the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland. Join us over several Saturday afternoons this winter, when we’ll be screening the more infamous and perhaps less critically well-received adaptions of The Wizard of Oz. See for yourself how these adaptations stack up against the classic. All will be shown in the Farnsworth auditorium and are free with museum admission. (Please note, none are recommended for young children.)