Glamorous Must-See Production of “The Wiz Jr.” by Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati
Posted On April 3, 2022
Review by Mary Kate Groh
The Children’s Theater of Cincinnati puts on another outstanding performance and wraps up their main stage season with the magical coming-of-age tale, “The Wiz Jr.” directed by Zhailon Levingston. This modern adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s classic tale, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” is an upbeat and vibrant Broadway show that is a perfect mixture of rock, gospel and soul music and also includes exciting dance numbers which blend traditional movement from African culture with ballet, jazz, and modern dance.
I went into this production with an open mind because I had never seen The Wiz prior, and I did not know what to expect except a modernized version of the “Wizard of Oz.” My favorite part was seeing the Scarecrow (William Charles Gibson), the Tin Man (Dorion Katriel) and the Lion (Je’Shaun Jackson) pop out of the set pieces that were all part of the original house set. It felt like that, although Dorothy was swept away by a hurricane to Munchkinland, she never actually left her house. The set changes and design are unique and brilliant. Hats off to scenic designer, Seth Howard, for creating such a magical set design.
The vocals and choreography are phenomenal. Brandi Langford Sherrill’s (Dorothy) powerful voice carried throughout the Taft Theater and brought audience members to their feet with applause. The Hurricane dance scene in the beginning of the show was clever and very creative. Shout out to choreographer Tislarm Bouie for creating such breathtaking choreography that kept me on the edge of my seat.
The green Ozian costumes are dazzling and remind me so much of the Ozian costumes from the iconic Broadway show, “Wicked.” Costume Designer Daryl Harris did a fantastic job of creating costumes that were modern, fashionable and practical.
This Sixty-Minute Version of THE WIZ JR. was developed by The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, Deondra Kamau Means, Resident Artist. Directed by Zhailon Levingston, straight from Broadway’s Chicken & Biscuits, Hadestown, and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
I applaud everyone involved in this fun production. From the set design, costumes, choreography, acting and vocals, everything is fantastic. Director Levingston brought his amazing talents to with all elements of this memorable production. The magical story of “The Wiz, Jr.” is running at the Taft Theater in Cincinnati from April 8-10. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click the link below. https://thechildrenstheatre.com/shows/the-wiz-jr/
Mary Katherine Groh earned her BA in Communications and Media from Miami and is now working with Findlay Market’s Social Media Team.