by Lynn Jones
Appearing at the Alhambra through April 24th is “The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical,” a glorious musical retelling of Frank Baum’s “Wonderful Wizard of Oz” set in the context of African-American culture.
With an infectious, funky-soul score and lyrics by Charlie Smalls, The locally produced Wiz brings renewed relevance to a timeless classic. The 1975 Broadway production was like nothing Broadway had ever seen, and ultimately won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Score.
Rounding out the cast is Broadway veteran Darryl Reuben Hall, founder of Stage Aurora Theatrical Company. Reuben briefly stepped on the stage as Dorothy’s Uncle Henry. As the play takes on many twists and turns, Reuben appears in his green pin striped suit, green cape, green platform shoes, green wig and blew the roof off as “The Wiz.” As the Wizard, his main objectives include power, prestige and money!
Multi-talented model, singer and actress Akia Uwanda continues to hone her skills on stage as she takes on the role as the wicked witch Addaperle. Immovable in her purple coat and magical wand in her hand, Adderperle laughingly sets Dorothy on her way down the yellow brick road. As Dorothy and her crew, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow saunter through the poppy fields, the evil witch Evillene, played by Tara Conner Jones, is on their trail. Flying Monkeys hovering around, Evillene evilly taunts Dorothy and her friends. After taking enough of Evillene’s evilness, the Cowardly Lion jokes, “she doesn’t bathe, she sends herself out too dry clean!”
The colorful cast brings to life an old familiar and family musical classic. The Wiz cast lit up the stage with characters that come to life ensuing humor, Broadway ambiance, vivid and colorful costumes.
The Alhambra Dinner Theater shows are becoming the local theater for a night of dinner and a play with family and friends. If you’re a product of the 70’s you may remember American R&B, soul and gospel singer, songwriter and Broadway star Stephanie Mills who starred as Dorothy slaying the song “home” in front of audiences. Eventually the play was made into a movie starring Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow and Diana Ross as Dorothy. The Wiz is a musical stage play that continues to resonates with audiences throughout the world. Dorothy has become an Emerald City hero!