08.07.2019

The Wiz Wows At The Wells Fargo Pavilion - A Review

The Wiz Wows At The Wells Fargo Pavilion - A Review

By Michael P Coleman

L Frank Baum published The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz over a hundred years ago.  It was the first in a series of widely successful children’s books — that generation’s Harry Potter, as it were. 

Since then, several versions have come to stage and screen, including the 1978 cinematic adaptation of The Wiz, the Broadway sensation from a few years earlier. 

There are countless reasons the story of Dorothy, her dog Toto, and her faithful trio of friends has stood the test of time.  The 1939 MGM classic is one of them, and the story is about as universal as they come. Each of us has asked some version of the questions “Do I have what it takes when the going gets rough?” and “How do I get home?” 

In the right set of hands, it’s a spellbinding tale.  And quite simply, Broadway At Music Circus’ new production of The Wiz, which opened last night and plays through August 11, is as magical as they come. 

Adrianna Hicks brings Dorothy to life like I’d never seen before.  Don’t be misled by her first, tentative notes during “Soon As I Get Home,” sung early in the show’s first act.  By the end of that act, she’d reduced me to tears as she belted out “Be A Lion,” which was shockingly dwarfed by her literal show-stopper, “Home.”   If Hicks isn’t one of the most talented people I’ve ever seen on stage, I’m not black.

Hicks’ co-stars are equally impressive.  James T. Lane almost stole the show as Tinman with “Slide Some Oil To Me,” “and broke a heart or two with “What Would I Do,” sung as a plea to The Wiz for a heart.  Lane showcased more heart than I could handle.  

Phillip Boykin rivaled Tony Award-winner Ted Ross as Lion.  And Christina Acosta Robinson stunned in a dual role, as Aunt Em and Glinda.  Her hesitant, lovely “The Feeling That We Had” won’t prepare you for her bravura “Believe In Yourself.”  Trust me: you will believe.

Then, there’s the dancing — and I don’t mean the hoofing I did from my seat throughout the toe-tapping show.  Don’t miss Kevin Smith Kirkwood’s homage to Michael Jackson, who preceded him as a Wiz Scarecrow.  “Everybody Rejoice” and “Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News” will also have you on your feet. 

And speaking of feet, I fell in love with Zonya Love’s Evillene.  I’d have kissed that foot, too! 

Kudos to The Wiz’ director, Glenn Casale, and choreographer, Gerry McIntyre.  I don’t want to spoil things for you, but both the cyclone and the Yellow Brick Road almost come alive.

Almost?  WOW! 

Last night’s performance of The Wiz had few missteps.  Toto showed up early but vanished quickly, but truthfully, I didn’t notice until the final curtain.  Glinda suffered a G-rated wardrobe malfunction.  And I actually loved one of the Scarecrow’s comedic pratfalls, which perfectly positioned him to tie Tinman’s errant shoelaces. 

For the first time in years, I didn’t welcome a show’s intermission.  It was like I was 13 years old all over again, experiencing the story for the first time. 

This Wiz is a winner!  Ease On Down The Road, indeed! 

Tickets for The Wiz start at $45, and are available by phone at (916) 557-1999, online at BroadwaySacramento.com, or in person at the Wells Fargo Pavilion Box Office, 1419 H Street in Sacramento.  The show runs through Sunday, August 11. 

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Click here to connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman, click here to check out his blog, or follow him on Instagram and Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP