by Center Stage Productions
“The Wiz” is the modern, urban, ersatz adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” It takes Dorothy’s story and spices it up with African-American vernacular; a 1970’s sound blending rock, soul, gospel and funk; and in this edition, a cast eager to have fun showing off their inner cool.
Dorothy, played by Julie Burlington, is whisked away from Kansas during a tornado, which was choreographed nicely by Andrea Shoquist, and plopped down in the middle of Munchkin Land. Counseled to visit the Wiz by Addaperle during the song He’s the Wiz, sung adeptly by Hailey Sweet, Dorothy and her homies follow the Yellow Brick Road, personified by a group of yellow-clad dancers.
The Scarecrow, played by Angela Ortlieb, gave a heartfelt rendition of I Was Born the Day Before Yesterday which was followed by a fun and funky Slide Some Oil to Me by Miles Mangonon, playing the fly Tinman. Rounding out the fearsome foursome was Robert Coe as Lion, whose song Mean Ole Lion belied his actual level of bravery. Sam Robinson gives a blinged-out performance as The Wiz, drawing the biggest chuckle of the afternoon when he appeared in hair rollers and a flouncy housecoat. Preaching the message that it isn’t always reality that is important, but how you choose to look at it, he sends Dorothy on her way as she sings the brilliantly performed ballad, Home. Rounding out the ensemble was Jasmine Cook as Evillen, adamant that she receive No Bad News, and the beautiful vocals of Jaime Ranejat as Glinda.
Despite the enthusiasm by the young cast, long delays with the set and/or costume changes brought the momentum of the show to a stop. And although some moments of the show might be a bit adult for younger kids, overall it’s a fun and funky time that clearly kindled the spark and enjoyment within the thespians easing us down the road to The Wiz.
Performs March 26th – 28th, 2010
~ Cast ~
Dorothy: Julie Burlington
#1 : Rachel Perry
Choreographer: Andrea Shoquist
Assistant Director: Julianna Rotta
Assistant Musical Director: Nathan Robinson
Sound Design: Lisa Robinson
Set & Lighting Design: Tiffini Lopez and Tony Wood
Set Artwork: Sam Robinson
Costume Design: Gia Kearns
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