by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of The Phantom of Oz, and a link to purchase it from Amazon and an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.
At first, Ivy Meadows is delighted to receive a call from her friend and fellow actress Candy MoonPie. The love of MoonPies gave her the nickname, somewhat better than the actual name she received from her parents with a sense of humor, Candy Treat. Now that she is starring in a touring production, she has taken the professional name of Candace Moon and is in Phoenix for performance at the Grand Phoenician Theatre. The Wizard: A Space OZpera might seem like an unusual adaptation of the Wizard of Oz, but with renowned Hollywood movie director Arrestadt Giry at the helm, it’s predicted to be a success. Rumors of a ghost haunting the theater only enhance the production, but definite detractions are the series of accidents and injuries plaguing the cast.
Nearly as alarming as seeing a chandelier take out the Wicked Witch of the East is this new incarnation of Candy. Alarmingly thin and more than a little manic, Ivy worries about the extreme measures her friend may be taking to achieve a Hollywood-level of beauty. Much of the negative pressure stems from the virulently mean girl Babette Firmin, whose reality show grooms aspiring actresses with brutally superficial assessments. Babette is on site to weed through Munchkins for her next child reality show, but her cruel barbs and insults spread to the entire cast. Seeing Candy fall victim to Babette’s ideology leads to a confrontation between Ivy and Candy, and when the latter goes missing, Ivy can’t help but feel guilty. Ivy soon suspects that Candy’s disappearance was by nefarious means, and that is when her back-up profession as private detective comes into play.
Author Cindy Brown presents an extraordinarily in-depth and timely exploration of how social media and the entertainment industry can affect a woman’s body image. Even while she’s appalled at the spiraling of her friend into an eating disorder, Ivy herself falls into the same trap of feeling that thinner is better and beautiful. Women being pitted against one another is embedded in our culture, with learning to love one’s self a challenge many struggle to achieve. This worthy topic is combined with fascinating details of a theater production, especially the relationships between cast members and crew.
The entertainment business is a setting that overflows with motives for murder, with competition for success and fame elevated to alarming levels. As much as Ivy loves being an actor, it’s a profession unkind to those lacking in confidence or self-esteem. Ivy only becomes more likable as she acknowledges her own vulnerabilities, jealousy, and insecurities, ensuring for the success of this original and satisfying series.
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To enter to win a copy of The Phantom of Oz, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “phantom,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 10, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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