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Colt Chronicle

The Student News Site of Kinnelon High School

Colt Chronicle

The Student News Site of Kinnelon High School

Colt Chronicle

Ease on Down to Broadway

“The Wiz” opens on Broadway after decades of waiting.
Ava Gutkin
“The Wiz” performance in Broadway

The Broadway lineup for this spring is incredibly crowded. With new shows coming and going, productions have to make their mark if they want to stay relevant. “The Wiz” is no different. As one of the newest shows to open on Broadway, the show has come into New York making a flashy entrance.

“The Wiz,” which opened on Apr. 17, is a revival of the original Broadway production of the same name. The show is running for a limited engagement, ending its run at the Marquis Theatre in August. The original production in 1975 was a massive hit winning seven Tony awards, and turning into a movie and a live production on NBC. The show is an adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz,” through a more soulful lens. 

The story begins in Kansas, with Dorothy living in her Aunt Em’s house, after her mother passes away. Dorothy then gets swept up in a magical tornado, and lands in Oz. When she arrives, she is celebrated for killing the Wicked Witch of the East. She meets sister witches, who tell her that the only way home is to meet the Wiz. On her way to meet him, she makes three friends who join Dorothy on her journey, but another witch, Evillene, continuously tries to stop the group and avenge her sister’s death.

The revival is written by Amber Ruffin and directed by Schele Williams, with music by Charlie Smalls and a book by William F. Brown. Nichele Lewis stars as Dorothy, and features a cast with Wayne Brady as The Wiz, Deborah Cox as Glinda, Avery Wilson playing the Scarecrow, and Melody A. Betts as Evillene and Aunt Em.

Since the show originally closed on Broadway, there have been some changes made to the show. For instance, Jaquel Knight’s choreography has created a mesmerizing effect, with dancers embodying the set. The ensemble works with the lights and props and even becomes the storm that carries Dorothy, and the entire show, to its core. A featured dancer is Avery Wilson (Scarecrow), who proved that jumping multiple feet in the air while belting tough notes is possible.

Another standout performance came from Melody A. Betts, who brought laughter to the audience and delivered show-stopping performances, including “Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News.”

The flashy costumes also added to the beauty of the production. The bold colors and texture complement the actors and atmosphere while letting the audience admire the talent onstage. 

Though the show has its joys, some details made the production stagger down the road. The pace of the show seems rushed. In the first act, the scenes appear to be sped through to get to the climax of the story. There isn’t enough time to fall in love with the characters until the second act.

Additionally, the set is made primarily of a screen behind the actors. At first, the bold colors lure the audience into the flashy world of Oz, but it soon becomes distracting. The stage lighting and background lights can tire eyes and take away from the moral of the show.

“The Wiz” may have difficulties, but the production quality is not lost. The show’s message perseveres and proves that friendship is one of the strongest relationships, and there truly is no place like home. 

You can buy tickets to see “The Wiz” here

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