Saturday, March 18, 2017

Review of Kokandy Productions' The Wiz

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Wiz. The book was by William F. Brown and the music was by Charlie Smalls. It was directed by Lili-Anne Brown. The music director was Jimmy Morehead and it was choreographed by Breon Arzell. It was based on the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. It was about a girl named Dorothy (Sydney Charles) who was blown away from her home town to a new land called Oz. She meets many strange people and things along her way back home. It's about journeys, being happy with yourself, and home. I think this is a super fun and amazing show. I'm so glad I got to see it!

I really loved the song "Ease On Down the Road." I've already listened to it many times since I've seen the show! I've been rocking out in my room. I am even listening to it while I'm writing this review! It was super funny when Lion (Chuckie Benson) had just joined the group of Dorothy, Scarecrow (Gilbert Domally), and Tinman (Steven Perkins), and he started trying to dance the dance that everyone had been doing for the first two incarnations of this song. He was just kind of stumbling around looking at everyone else's feet, which would be anybody trying to do this because they wouldn't have had any time to learn this dance. I guess he was not easing on down the road--more like awkwardly sliding down the road in a hilarious way It was poking fun at the magic that usually happens in a musical when someone just learns a dance with no practice. I think what made it especially funny was how this entire play was generally very magical, but when the Lion started not knowing the dance, that broke a convention. The show kind of says to the audience, "You thought we were going to do that again, but nope!"

The witches and wizards were hilarious! I thought that every single one of them had such a different personality. Some were girly; some were evil; some were doing drag, and some seemed just really high. The first time any of them entered the room they had so much flair! For example, when the Wiz (Frederick Harris) entered, it was with a cloud of smoke--literally. When he walked on stage he had like this Beyoncé walk where he put one foot in front of each other, but just elongated it as much as he could before he took the next step. Also Glinda's (Anna Dauzvardis) wig looked a lot like Nicki Minaj's, and she was generally fabulous looking! She seemed like a perfect beauty queen. I thought it was so funny when Addaperle (Angela Alise) walked on stage so wobbly. With those shoes I wouldn't have blamed her, but she also seemed intoxicated in some way, shape, or form. So was the rest of her fan club! And last, but not least, Evillene (Nicole Michelle Haskins). She was just flawless but so evil. And really dehydrated...get it? Her song "Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News" was so fabulous and she also kind of terrified me at the same time, which was appropriate for the character.

I really loved the four heroes: Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman, and Lion. Each has a theme song that is insanely memorable. I really loved "I'm a Mean Ole Lion" which was basically trying to scare everyone away, but instead it made everyone in the audience absolutely adore the Lion. It is so full of attitude, but by the time the song ends you see he is as scared as anyone else. I think you learn a lot about the Lion in this song or at least what he pretends to be. Also the Tinman had a pretty amazing song, "Slide Some Oil to Me." It was very slick (haha) and jazzy. He was clearly a player. He seemed to be flirting with Dorothy. I think that's really funny because the Scarecrow seemed pretty defensive about how the Tinman was coming on to Dorothy. "You Can't Win" was the Scarecrow's song. It was about basically how in any situation there is no good outcome. It sounds like a pretty depressing song, but it isn't. It is a very peppy- and upbeat-sounding song, even though they are singing about how everything sucks. Dorothy and the Scarecrow had this really cute bit. The Scarecrow was talking about saving up for a brain, and Dorothy had to break it to him that you can't buy a brain. But I guess later he does get a "brain" but he gets it for free! Great deal! Dorothy had a really gorgeous song called "Home" and her voice is absolutely beautiful. It was about how hopefully if time slows down enough she'll be able to take things in and as a result be happy with her life. I think that is a really good message and it is a really beautiful song.

People who would like this show are people who like magic roads, player Tinmen, and wobbly witches. I think this is a amazing show it was so much fun to watch. I absolutely loved it!

Photos: Michael Brosilow

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