Thursday, June 18, 2009

Encores! Summer Stars's THE WIZ Officially Opens June 18th

The Encores! Summer Stars production of The Wiz, starring Ashanti(I'm hearing mixed things about her acting), LaChanze(one of my favorite Broadway gals who apparently steals the show and just starred recently in The Color Purple and also starred in one of my all time favorite shows, Once on this Island) and Orlando Jones, officially opens tonight, Thursday, June 18 at New York City Center. (Previews began June 12). Easing down the road with Ashanti's Dorothy will be Joshua Henry, James Monroe Iglehart, Christian Dante White, Tichina Arnold and Dawn Lewis.

The Wiz, the 1974 rock and soul musical based on the beloved L. Frank Baum story about Dorothy and her adventures in Oz, will be directed by Thomas Kail and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler, with music direction by Alex Lacamoire, (the team responsible for the Tony-winning In the Heights). The original production won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Choreography.

Here's what someone said recently on a blog I read about this production;

Forget the naysayers, this is an absolutely first-rate Encores production. The historical significance of the show to black musical performers is reflected in the wonderful work of the ensemble cast that’s been assembled. The score, book and choreography form a panorama of black showbiz and music history. (This updated version invokes B-boys and “Lion King,” as well as disco, Alvin Ailey and vaudeville.) The creators assume you know the story—it’s the hook they hang the songs and gags on. The tone and momentum shift in the second act, returning to church and gospel, so it’s preachier, but no less rewarding or joyous. The choreography is bold and inventive (although some clarity is sacrificed on the crowded City Center stage.) My favorite moment was “Be A Lion,” but there are at least a half-dozen other standout performances and numbers. Go.

I have a feeling that this production is sure to move to a long Broadway run, but we'll see how the critics feel tomorrow morning. So don't take any chances, get your tickets now to see this great show at great prices through Applause Theatre Service. Call 800-451-9930

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