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Articles by Theda Kleinhans Reichman

Readers, young and old alike, as well as theatre and film aficionados owe a great debt to L. Frank Baum, author of the Oz novels. His books were the inspiration for the 1939 film classic “The Wizard of Oz” starring Judy Garland and Ray Bolger, a motion picture designated by the Library of Congress as “the most watched film ever made.”

Nine 2012 films were nominated in the Best Picture category, but only five directors made the cut.  While “Argo” was nominated, director Ben Affleck was not.  However, this nominating slight didn’t stop “Argo” from winning Best Picture after all, proving that the thrilling true life adventure was the little movie that could—and did. 

Overcoming against all odds is also the underlying theme of this true-life adventure film. 

“Backbeat” currently at the Ahmanson Theatre, is a dramatic musical about the birth of “The Beatles” and to my surprise I discovered that the “Fab Four” started out with five musicians. 

In 2003 “Finding Nemo” won the Academy Award for Best Animated feature, and in 2008 the American Film Institute (AFI) named “Finding Nemo” among the top 10 greatest animated films ever made.  At the time of its release the film was the highest grossing G-rated movie of all time and remains the fifth highest grossing animated film worldwide.

Now this colorful fish tale is back in 3-D for a whole new generation to ‘sea’ and enjoy.

In 2013, opera companies all over the world will commemorate the 200th anniversary of Verdi’s birth, but Placido Domingo and noted Los Angeles Opera conductor James Conlon decided to get a head start on the Verdi birthday festivities. 

As the eerily charming, sweetly spooky and cleverly creepy Tim Burton film “Frankenweenie” begins, young Victor Frankenstein is showing his parents a horror movie he has just completed starring his toy soldiers, Lego-like buildings and  Victor‘s playful bull terrier, Sparky. 

After their living room screening, Victor’s supportive parents applaud and Sparky wags his tail a lot.

Attention lovers of fine ballet and whimsy! The 10th anniversary season of “Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center” begins with the U.S. debut of The National Ballet of Canada’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon. Add a sweeping musical score by Joby Talbot and wildly imaginative sets and costumes by Bob Crowley that makes use of puppetry, projections and masks, and Wonderland really comes to life.

David Mamet’s “November” is a satirical comedy about politics, spinning the facts and freeing the White House’s Thanksgiving turkey, but in this case the president, Charles Smith (Ed Begley Jr.), is a bigger turkey than the holiday bird he is scheduled to spare.

The State of the Union is in disarray and the current president is heading for a nosedive in the upcoming election, so by hook or mostly by crook, he sets out to change things.

On Oct. 2, Disney Studios opened up their magical vault to release one of Walt Disney’s most charming fairytale classics, “Cinderella” on Blu-ray and DVD. 

Every little Princess in the family will love this timeless story about a young girl who has faith that her dreams will come true as she sings “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” while doing the many chores expected of her by her unloving stepmother and her two pampered stepsisters.

Disney’s animated comedy adventure “Wreck-It Ralph” was a smash recently, breaking box office records by earning $49.1 million in just three days. Wow!

It has also become a darling with the critics. Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times began her review by saying “It’s not just the joystick junkie in me that admires “Wreck-It Ralph…” The movie’s subversive sensibility and old-school/new-school feel are a total kick.”

And Peter Travers, RollingStone, dubbed it “Hilarious.”