[03/29/05 - 12:00 AM]
ABC's 'The Muppets' Wizard of Oz' Makes Its World Premiere Wednesday, April 27th at the 2005 Tribeca Family Festival

[via press release from Muppets Holding Company, LLC]

ABC's 'The Muppets' Wizard of Oz' Makes Its World Premiere Wednesday, April 27th at the 2005 Tribeca Family Festival

Ashanti, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the Rest of the Muppet Gang to Attend the Star-Studded Red Carpet Festivities

NEW YORK, March 29 -- The fun and fanciful new ABC telefilm "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz," starring Ashanti and the Muppets and directed by Kirk Thatcher, will have its world premiere on Wednesday, April 27th as part of the Tribeca Family Festival. The Tribeca line-up addition was announced today by Festival co-founders Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff. The film's executive producers are Lisa Henson and Brian Henson; Martin G. Baker and Warren Carr are producers, and Bill Barretta, Kristine Belson and Eric Poticha are co-producers. The Tribeca Family Festival runs concurrently with the Tribeca Film Festival. The Tribeca Film Festival is presented by American Express.

The premiere will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in lower Manhattan with Ashanti, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, The Great Gonzo and Pepe the King Prawn in attendance, along with other special guests. "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" will air in May 2005 as part of the hit family franchise, "The Wonderful World of Disney." This is the Muppets' first major television event since the franchise was purchased by the Walt Disney Company in 2004.

Muppet fans are also invited to visit http://www.Muppets.com to enter to win a chance to attend the premiere; and to visit http://www.disneyauctions.com to bid on a "Muppets' Wizard of Oz" Tribeca world premiere vacation package (bidding closes March 31).

Based on the book "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum, "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" twists and tweaks the original story without ever losing the central meaning of the classic. Contemporary teenage Dorothy, played by recording star/actress/poet Ashanti ("Coach Carter"), is a girl with dreams of showbiz that seem far from coming true in the Kansas trailer park where she lives. Joining her in this madcap adventure movie with original music are Queen Latifah ("Chicago") as her beloved guardian Auntie Em and comedic force David Alan Grier ("Life with Bonnie"), who portrays Uncle Henry. Director Quentin Tarrantino ("Kill Bill," vols. 1 and 2) appears in a cameo as himself, and Jeffrey Tambor ("Arrested Development") is the Wizard.

Of course the biggest star in the film -- she's absolutely certain -- is Miss Piggy, who will take on the roles of all four witches: Wicked Witch of the East, Wicked Witch of the West, the Good Witch of the North and Glinda, the Good Witch of the South. Kermit the Frog is the Scarecrow, in search of a brain; The Great Gonzo is the Tin Thing, in search of his heart, and Fozzie Bear is the Lion looking for some courage. Pepe the King Prawn takes on the role of Toto, Dorothy's constant -- and constantly chattering -- sidekick.

When Dorothy's transported from workaday Kansas to the magical land of Oz, she joins with the Scarecrow, the Tin Thing and the Lion to fight the Wicked Witch of the West and journey to the Wizard, who, she hopes, will make her a star.

"We couldn't think of a better place to debut this much-anticipated television film event than the Tribeca Family Festival," said Chris Curtin, general manager and vice president, The Muppets Holding Company, LLC. "As our first endeavor since adding the Muppets to the Disney family of brands, we are extremely proud of the finished product and are excited to share this world premiere."

"We're thrilled to be premiering this movie at Tribeca," said Quinn Taylor, senior vice president, movies and miniseries, ABC Entertainment. "It's a perfect fit -- this movie is as brash and colorful as New York itself. And I hear every designer in town is fighting to dress Miss Piggy for the red carpet!"

About the Tribeca Film Festival

Festival packages and passes are currently available to the public. Individual tickets for film screenings, panel discussions and other events will be on sale April 3 to American Express Cardmembers and on April 10 to the public. For more information on the Tribeca Film Festival and to purchase tickets, the public should visit the Tribeca Film Festival website at http://www.tribecafilmfestival.org.

The Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2002 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in response to the attacks on the World Trade Center. Now in its fourth year, the Festival's mission is to promote New York City as the world's independent film capital and to foster the economic and cultural revitalization of Lower Manhattan through an annual celebration of film, music and culture. The first three festivals attracted nearly 1 million visitors and created in excess of $125 million in economic activity for Lower Manhattan.

American Express is the Founding Sponsor of the Tribeca Film Festival. Part of a multi-year relationship, the sponsorship demonstrates American Express' dedication to the goals of the Festival and the revitalization of lower Manhattan.

The Tribeca Film Festival is pleased to announce the return of their Signature Sponsors: Anheuser-Busch, General Motors, Prada, WNBC, Delta Air Lines, The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, The New York Times, The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Vanity Fair, Bloomberg LP, Regal Entertainment Group, and Sony Electronics. The Festival is also honored to welcome the following new sponsors to the Tribeca Film Festival: Apple, Nokia, Dewar's 12 and the Tribeca Grand Hotel.

About Muppets Holding Company

The Muppets Holding Company, LLC (MHC) is a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS). MHC was established in April 2004 when The Walt Disney Company purchased the Muppets from The Jim Henson Company. MHC's mission is to ensure that this beloved, world-class brand franchise entertains audiences of all ages by leveraging Disney's best creative resources and worldwide distribution platforms. MHC plans to develop new content in all arenas, including television, feature films, music, stage plays and theme parks, and to enhance the Muppets global licensing and distribution presence.

SOURCE Muppets Holding Company, LLC
Web Site: http://www.Muppets.com

  [march 2005]  


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