The Wiz is coming to Children’s Theatre Company January 23 – March 18, 2018, and it’s going to be so much fun! I got to go behind-the-scenes for a sneak peek and get the inside scoop about this exciting production, and have details, pics and video to share with you – plus a 20% ticket discount and ticket GIVEAWAY!
Children’s Theatre Company teamed up with Penumbra Theatre to bring “The Wiz” to the stage. Penumbra Theatre was founded in 1976 by Lou Bellamy to create a forum for African American voices in the Twin Cities theatre community. Both companies are passionate about advocacy for their often underserved audiences, and combining CTC’s critical literacy work and Penumbra’s racial justice work allows both to have a greater impact together.
What to expect from “The Wiz” ???
What I love about Children’s Theatre company is how they so creatively will bring a familiar story to life, and often in ways you would never imagine.
During our “behind-the-scenes” tour, we met with Maria Asp, Neighborhood Bridges program director, who taught us about this incredible program and the importance of critical literacy. It really opened my eyes when she showed us how different a story can be when told from the perspective of different characters in the story.
One of my favorite Children’s Theatre productions was Cinderella a couple years ago, which was a totally different, wacky and modern version of the story, but that’s what made it so much fun. The Wiz will be similar in that it’s a completely different retelling of the story, but it will be told from an African American perspective and will take place in New York.
“My concept for our production is rooted deeply in African American history & custom,” stated Director Lou Bellamy. Dorothy’s journey from (in our production) Nicodemus, Kansas to the Wiz’s palace in Harlem, pays homage to the Great Migration made during Reconstruction by thousands of African Americans from rural environs to urban living.”
Plus, it’s an all-star cast including Paris Bennett (American Idol top five finalist 2006) as Dorothy, Dennis Spears (Ivey Award for Excellence in Acting, Member of the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame) as Tinman, CTC’s Performing Apprentice Dwight Leslie as Scarecrow, Aimee Bryant (CTC’s Akeelah and the Bee) as Addaperle, T. Mychael Rambo (Guthrie Theatre, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Park Square Theatre, Mixed Blood) as The Wiz, Rudolph Searles III (Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, Park Square Theatre) as Lion, Greta Oglesby (Guthrie Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, and more) as Aunt Em/Evillene, and Jamecia Bennett (Guthrie Theatre, Lab Theatre, Park Square Theatre, Capri Theatre) as Glinda/Crow/Ensemble.
Mathew LeFebvre (top left, below) is the talented costume designer of The Wiz and we met him and learned about the process. After meeting with Lou Bellamy, the director, to get a sense of the story, he read the script and listened to the music over and over to create the costumes that we got to preview. Then he worked with the director and choreographer to tweak the designs, and he continues to work closely with the costume team to bring them to life.
Check out these amazing interpretations. They have a team of 14 people working on putting these unique costumes together and they’re pretty stunning.
Mathew’s favorite may be the Yellow Brick Road costumes so far (and I think ours too!).
Some more examples – of Dorothy, The Wizard, and the Tornado (yes, seriously – I can’t wait to see this!).
This was a crow costume fitting we got to peek in on.
Ease on down the road with Dorothy and her friends with a dazzling mixture of rock, gospel and soul music. Embark on this Oz-some adventure through a magic land where you will meet funky monkeys, winkies, Addaperle and Evillene. You don’t need a wizard—just believe in yourself to find home and feel that brand-new day!
Everyone on our tour then got to watch a rehearsal. Here is a musical scene with members of the full cast:
Full Cast: Alphabetical Order
Jamecia Bennett (Glinda/Crow/Ensemble)
Paris Bennett (Dorothy)
Aimee Bryant (Addaperle)
Dwight Leslie (Scarecrow)
Greta Oglesby (Aunt Em/Evillene)
T. Mychael Rambo (The Wiz)
Rudolph Searles III (Lion)
Dennis Spears (Tinman/Uncle Henry)
Raphael “Ray” Dow III
Watch this amazing, energetic talent!
The Wiz will be at Children’s Theatre Company from Tuesday, January 23rd (preview nights are January 23rd – 25th) to Sunday, March 18th.
The Ticket Office is accessible by phone two hours prior to most performances. These posted hours are subject to change.
Email: email@example.com (inquiries only, no ticket processing)
Lap passes available for children newborn to three years for $5
Save 20% on tickets with my special discount! Click on this link and the discount will automatically be applied.
Otherwise, note that all shows at Children’s Theatre Company start at $15 per ticket, and they offer financial aid to lower income patrons via their ACT Pass program.
I have 2 tickets for any weeknight performance to give away! They’re valid for any performance Tuesday through Friday that hasn’t sold out. To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below by Thursday, January 18th at 11:00pm. Winner will be chosen randomly and contacted by Children’s Theatre Company to set up tickets.
If you enter by leaving a blog post comment, tell me which character you’re most excited to see in “The Wiz”!!!