Thursday, July 18, 2019

Tornadoes on Broad Street

Last Saturday night I fell for a man with no heart, and swooned over another with no brains. Sounds like my past love life. Throw in my mad crush on Glinda and it almost sounds like Confessions of a Bi-girl: Her Diary.

Aaron Sutten Photography

While Virginia Rep's November Theatre put on a very fun overall production of The Wiz, it was a tin man (D. Jerome Wells), a scarecrow (Dylan T. Jackson), a good witch (Jessi Johnson) and some stellar choreography that stole the show.

Aaron Sutten Photography
The tornado scene was exceptionally well choreographed. Very cool. And I may be just a little more prone to self-confidence this week after Glinda's rendition of Believe in Yourself. Okay, Ms. Johnson, if you insist.

The story, of course, was familiar. The Wiz was updated in the 1970s from the 1930s Wizard of Oz as a soul version portraying contemporary African American culture both based on the beloved book by L. Frank Baum.

Mariah Lyttle's Dorothy was charming and playful, particularly in her interactions with her companions on the yellow brick road. And Brandon LaReau's Cowardly Lion was terrifyingly sweet.

The Wiz had all the elements - good acting, singing, choreography, set, and a fantastic orchestra led by Anthony Smith. Everything was well-executed. But with the exception of a handful of songs  - Ease on Down the Road, and Believe in Yourself notably - I didn't find the music particularly memorable. I didn't leave singing any of the tunes in my head. So it wasn't my favorite musical, but I admired most aspects of Virginia Rep's production of it.

The Wiz continues through August 4. For tickets click here.

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