The Wiz (review)

The Wiz (review)
The Wiz (review)
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THE PLAY: This musical version of The Wizard of Oz is inspired by black pop culture.


THE PRODUCTION: Choreographer/director Kikau Alvaro applies his unique approach to dancing and staging with inventive visual surprises, distinctive dance moves and delightful performances. In 3 roles,Desirée Roots is the funniest she’s ever been. As Dorothy, Mariah Lyttle brings scant personality to the role, but (like everyone else in the cast) she has an incredible voice. Her 3 sidekicks, Dylan T. Jackson (Scarecrow), D. Jerome Wells (Tin Man) and Brandon LaReau (Cowardly Lion) have comic qualities to spare, with LaReau making the most enjoyable impression. The rambunctious energy of Act One gives way to the more dramatic second act, which is dominated by incredible solos from Jerold E. Solomon (The Wiz), Jessi Johnson (Glinda) and Lyttle (finally getting a chance to shine). Although it’s called Afrofuturism in the program, the sets by Kimberly V. Powers display no discernible cohesive design (every scene seems to have its own style). Jeanne Nugent’s costumes are grab bag of color and glitz. Anthony Smith’s orchestra provides solid musical support. Running time: 2:05


THE POINT: A visually-inventive, delightfully-entertaining romp down the Yellow Brick Road.


5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)


At Virginia Rep thru 8/4


Mariah Lyttle (Dorothy) and cast. (Photos by Aaron Sutten)

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