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Review

The Show: 

He’s the Wiz and he lives in Oz, and Dorothy has to Ease on Down the Road of yellow bricks to see him in this Motown version of L. Frank Baum’s classic fantasy The Wizard of Oz. Along her path back Home she’ll encounter groovy good witches and the evil witch Evillene, tornado dancers and Munchkins and psychedelic Ozians, and of course her three iconic friends. One made the day before yesterday with straw but no brain, one made with tin but no heart who needs someone to slide some oil to him, and one made out of flesh but no spine who claims to be a Mean Ole Lion. But all three made with a lot of soul in William F. Brown’s (book) and Charlie Smalls’s (music and lyrics) 1970s reimagining of Oz. 

The Production: 

Carlsbad Community Theatre and Director Allisan Whitman staged a fun and dynamic production of The Wiz featuring both adult and youth actors, with Dorothy and friends all local youth. The adults include Kit Fugrad as The Wiz himself with hilarious eccentricity and style and a revivalist charisma when trying to sell himself to his people. Carlsbad High alum Chelsea Streano is a riot singing as a goofy good witch Addaperle about said Wiz, flirting with the Tin Man, and compelling her Munchkins to laugh at her jokes (and terrifying her quick-ducking Munchkins as they avoid her wildly swinging wand). Laura Case is dominating as the evil Evillene bossing around her underlings including her doomed messenger (Jake Bradford) who gives a good girly scream when Evillene punishes him for bringing her bad news, and her Lord High Underling (Carter Knight) who forces the luckless Winkies around the stage with a spray bottle. While DeMilo Young, the real-life mother of Dorothy, delivers some beautiful and motherly advice to Dorothy with the Believe in Yourself reprise. 

Alexis Young is our Dorothy, and she is over the rainbow with a fun and charming personality, great dancing, and emotional as well as gorgeous singing of Be a Lion and Home. Jalen Turnage is that lion, one given to furballs, whose lack of courage is made up for with a hilarious personality and physicality, and facial expressions to match. While Noah Castillero is the Scarecrow with both good singing and limber straw-like movements, and Joey DiSimone turns in his musical debut with great heart, signing, and movement within his tin can suit. Including when he gets one of the flying monkeys to really fly by swinging him around. 

The ensemble is both talented and totally into every moment of the show, and Director/Choreographer Allisan Whitman makes sure they have plenty of places to shine including in a coolly choreographed Kalidah scene, as groovy citizens of the Emerald City, as cute but devious poppies, as newly freed Winkies in Brand New Day, as colorful and amusingly lovable Munchkins, and as the Tornado Dancers who whisk us off away from home for this enchanting visit to Oz.

Performed August 5 - 7, 2011

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~ 

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Aunt Em/Evillene: Laura Case
Dorothy: Alexis Young
Uncle Henry/The Wiz: Kit Fugrad
Addaperle: Chelsea Streano
Scarecrow: Noah Castillero
Tinman: Joey DeSimone
Lion: Jalen Turnage
Royal Gatekeeper: Skye McMillan
Lord High Underling: Carter Knight
Soldier Messenger: Jake Bradford
Glinda: DeMilo Young

Tornado Dancers, Crows, Wiz Dancers:
Jenny Case
Analicia Hawkins
Valerie Maybaum
Natalie Threadgill

The Wiz Ensemble: Munchkins, Emerald City Citizens, Winkies:
Shireen Ayazi
Jana Begun
Jake Bradford
Josh Bradford
Eden Casteel
Katherine Cochran
Miranda Colvin
Kira Davis
Allie DeGour
Tess Dufour
Jenianne Fortney
Corinna Hall
Nathan Hall
Alexa Harris
Jordan Katnik
Carter Knight
Sydney Knowland
Nicole Less
Skye McMillan
Isabella Nelson
Cassandra Nesbit
Jasmine O'Hara
Alison Pateros
Lydia Schmidt
Ryan Schmidt
Erica Schwartz
Savannah Severson
Chloe Smith
Jessica Streich

Whirlwind Dancers:
Eden Casteel
Allie DeGour
Jenianne Fortney
Alexa Harris
Savannah Severson
Chloe Smith

Kalidahs:
Shireen Ayazi
Jana Begun
Eden Casteel
Katherine Cochran
Allie DeGour
Jenianne Fortney
Alexa Harris
Skye McMillan
Alison Pateros
Erica Schwartz
Savannah Severson
Chloe Smith

Poppies:
Miranda Colvin
Kira Davis
Tess Dufour
Corinna Hall
Sydney Knowland
Nicole Less
Isabella Nelson
Cassandra Nesbit
Jasmine O'Hara
Lydia Schmidt

Field Mice:
Jake Bradford
Josh Bradford
Nathan Hall
Jordan Katnik
Ryan Schmidt

Monkeys:
Josh Bradford
Nathan Hall
Jordan Katnik
Ryan Schmidt

Toto: Bunnee

Director/Choreographer: Allisan Whitman
Musical Director/Conductor: Jim Tompkins-MacLaine
Stage Manager/Assistant Director: Chandler Payne
Set Designer: Ric Henry
Truax Theatre Technical Director: Lace Phelps
Costumer: Janie Newsom

   

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