No, it's not the Wizard of Oz or even The Wiz. This one's more like Puppetry of the Penal...
"Oz," the HBO drama about life in Cell Block 5 (Emerald City) of the Oswald Maximum Security Prison ("Oz") — known for its strong violence and more male nudity than Naked Boys Singing — will premiere a musical episode Feb. 10.
The episode, titled "Variety," will feature fantasy interludes sung by castmates and inmates of the show. The drama usually features interspersed monologues by wheelchaired prisoner Augustus Hill. Due to actor Harold Perrineau Jr.'s schedule conflict last summer — as he was filming scenes for "The Matrix" sequel — writer- creator Tom Fontana reworked those segments to feature the musical scenes.
Broadway names including Rita Moreno (Last of the Red Hot Lovers, The Odd Couple and the film version of West Side Story), B.D. Wong (You're a Good Man, M. Butterfly), Terry Kinney (Buried Child, On the Waterfront), George Morfogen (An Inspector Calls, Arms and the Man) and J. K. Simmons (Guys and Dolls, Laughter on the 23rd Floor) are series regulars. Actress Betty Buckley (Cats, The Mystery of Edwin Drood) also has a recurring role on the show.
Chris Tergesen is music supervisor for the episode and found songs that would suit the expression as well as the character. Moreno's character Sister Peter Marie Reimondo will perform the show opener, Janis Ian's "Days Like These." Evan Seinfeld, lead vocalist and bassist for the heavy metal band, Biohazard, will snarl out Todd Rundgren's "No World Order" as his character prisoner Jaz Hoyt. B.D. Wong will show Father Ray Mukada's inner kinky side as he croons an evocative version of Tori Amos' "Leather." And Simmons, as white supremacist prisoner Vernon Schillinger, will belt out Barry Manilow and Lily Tomlin's "The Last Duet" to co-star/cellmate Lee Tergesen as Tobias "Toby" Beecher. "Variety" was shot last summer, prior to the recent "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" musical episode which aired in November. The "Oz" musical episode premieres on HBO Feb. 10 and will repeat throughout the week. Check your local listings for times.
— by Ernio Hernandez