Film News: ‘The Wizard of Oz’ 80th Anniversary in Chicago’s Millennium Park, July 10, 2019

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CHICAGO – The Windy City is off to see the Wizard again, as the Grant Park Music Festival celebrates the 80th Anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz” at the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park. The festivities include a costume party, hosted by Linda Kollmeyer (“The Lottery Lady”), followed by the presentation with a live orchestra accompaniment – on the Park’s giant LED screen – of the classic 1939 film.

The event is free and open to the public (first-come, first-served) in both the “seating bowl” area and lawn, and begins at 6:30pm with the costume party, with the screening at 8pm. For more information, click here.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to ‘The Wizard of Oz’ at Millennium Park
Photo credit: Warner Home Video

At the time of the late 1930s filming of “The Wizard of Oz,” the idea of an event children’s film was brand new. The film stars Judy Garland in one of her signature roles as Dorothy Gale, and she is joined by a legendary cast including Frank Morgan as the title character, Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West, Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion and Jack Haley as the Tin Man. There are two great Chicago connections to the film … the original book (“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”) was written here in 1901 by author L. Frank Baum and the original silent film version was made by the (William) Selig Polyscope Company of Chicago in 1910. Baum and Selig were early collaborators in selling the Oz concept to other media. 

The event is part of the Grant Park Music Festival, a summer-long series of concerts and happenings associated with a Chicago tradition that goes back to the 1930s, presented by the Chicago Park District, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and the Grant Park Orchestral Association. “The Wizard of Oz” live orchestra is conducted by Norman Huynh.

The Grant Park Music Festival presents the 80th Anniversary screening of “The Wizard of Oz,” Wednesday, July 10th, 2019, at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park Chicago, beginning at 6:30pm (8pm screening). For more information about the Grant Park Music Festival, click here. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2019 Patrick McDonald,

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