The magic behind The Wiz: TSU showcases student talent
Written by Christina Abay on October 8, 2021
By Z’Nye McNeil, Alexis Hood and Kyndel Phipps (Contributors)
Prepare to walk down the yellow brick road as The Wiz makes its way to Texas Southern University’s Granville Sawyer Auditorium from Oct. 8-10.
The musical, directed by Rachel Dickson will feature Trinity Brooks as Dorothy, Trevor Mouton as Tinman, Samuel Jones as Scarecrow, Talbert Williams as Lion, J’Neise Hodge as Glinda, Merritt Johnson as Addaperle, and William Sharp as The Wiz.
After witnessing the rehearsal process, the takeaway has been remarkable; the cast and crew have been working nonstop to create a show that is unlike any other.
Williams, who portrays the Lion, hopes that the audience will approach this adaptation of a classic with an open mind and an appreciation for the art.
“Don’t just have it in your head, well Amber Riley played this part, nobody else can play that part, or if Diana Ross played this part— no! Have an open mind to receive the beauty that is theatre,” said Williams.
Dickson has completely transformed this show into her own, down to the costumes, singing, dancing, and acting.
One of the adaptation’s unique twists is its take on the wardrobe; if the audience is expecting to see Dorothy in a plaid blue and white gown, think again; the costumes will be more African inspired.
“We’re adding certain Afrocentric elements into the show with our costumes and things. Our costume choices are very much different from what you would see in the play or the movie,” said Hodge, who plays Glinda.
Creating a show of this magnitude with so many different things at stake is not easy; the actors and crew members have been working nonstop to perfect this show. While watching the cast perform, one can sense their profound love and joy for not only their characters but also for one another.
“We all kind of have a love for the art so it kind of seemed like a family… even new people, we all meshed pretty well,” Mouton said.
The music may take the audience to an ethereal place courtesy of Dr. Kiana Day Williams, Choir Director at TSU, and her choir. The choir’s gentle voices combined with Mouton’s powerful voice will leave the audience wanting more.
TSU’s production of The Wiz is a lighthearted, contemporary, and whimsical reimagining of the 1975 Broadway musical.
Merritt Johnson, who portrays Addaperle, discussed the message she hopes the audience takes away from the performance.
“I don’t know if necessarily take away, but I know what I want the audience to feel when they’re there. I want them to have a little bit of an escape… be able to get immersed in the play,” Johnson said.
If students are interested in seeing TSU’s production of The Wiz, be sure to ease on down to Granville Sawyer Auditorium this weekend, Oct. 8- 10.
Z’Nye McNeil, Alexis Hood and Kyndel Phipps are in Texas Southern University’s Introduction to Reporting class.