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
"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
"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
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
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
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