|((Left to right) Damien Norfleet as “Lion,” |
Quiana Holmes as “Dorothy”,
Carl-Michael Ogle as “Scarecrow”
and Justin Raymond Reeves as “Tin Man”
Courtesy of Fiddlehead Theatre Company/©
This past weekend, Fiddlehead Theatre wrapped up a successful run of "The Wiz." I was able to catch the final performance after returning from my winter exile in London and NYC. The Sunday audience loved what the Fiddlehead cast and creative team offered up on the stage of the historic Strand Theatre.
"The Wiz" came to life in the 1970's, adding an urban edginess to the classic tale of Dorothy in Oz. In my estimation, the show has not aged gracefully, especially in comparison to the more sophisticated Oz spin-off of "Wicked." But, in the words of one of the songs from "The Wiz" that opens Act II, I do not want to be conveying "No Bad News"! For there is plenty of good news to report. Director Stacey Stephens, Music Director Balint Varga and Choreographer Wendy Hall set up the large cast for success, for the singing and dancing, especially in the ensemble numbers, were impressive.
Standing out among the cast members were the quartet pictured in the picture above.
- Berklee student, Quiana Holmes, brought an innocence and exuberance to the character of Dorothy that was infectious. Her voice soared, especially in the 11 o'clock number "Home."
- As the Scarecrow, Carl-Michael Ogle was wonderfully rubbery as his character struggled to get his legs under him after being released from his perch on the fence post. His make-up and facial expressions were spot on, conveying just the right amount of oblivion mixed with hope and optimism. His voice blended well with the rest of his traveling companions.
- Justin Raymond Reeves proved to be a stalwart and intrepid Tinman. His rendition of "To Be Able To Feel" was, well, heart-felt!
- The Lion is not an easy role to play, given the iconic performance by Bert Lahr in the original film. But Damian Norfleet was up to the task, delighting audience members with his roars and preening. His "Mean Ole Lion," was a highlight.
- Shuga Henry played the dual roles of Auntie Em and Evilene with gusto, filling the theater with her powerful voice
- Likewise, Terrel Foster-James showed off his impressive pipes as Uncle Henry and The Wiz.
- Shana Dirik injected humor as the ditsy Addaperle, struggling to remember her magic spells.