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10/23/2014 - 8:00am to 10/26/2014 - 11:00pm
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PRESS RELEASE

bc-theatre-productions-wiz02.jpgAfter an amazing production of Dreamgirls, winter 2006, "What could be next?" That roar came from 1000 audience members who attended Benedict College Theatre Ensemble Fine Arts Department Dreamgirls production held November 2006.  The cast, crew, community, faculty, staff, media, and members of the "Theatre World," exclaimed "We want more."   Charles David Brooks, III (CDBIII), director of the Fine Arts Department's Theatre Ensemble, of Benedict College, under the cuff, indicated that he was considering The Wiz as the fall 2007 stage production at Benedict College.  From that moment, a whisper took on a life of its own; the mere mention of the word, Wiz, from CDBIII lips sent a buzz throughout the state of South Carolina.  Brooks approached the chair of Benedict College Fine Arts Department Dr. Sean Daniels with the notion of The Wiz as a Theatre Ensemble stage production.  Professor Brooks said, "Dr. Daniels, Musical Conductor, tied the music body together to deliver the Broadway sound that launched Dreamgirls,"   Daniels and Brooks shake hands, smiled, and said, "Let's Do It." Dr. Walter Bragg, Musical Director of Dreamgirls is excited about doing The Wiz, he lamented, "I am in."  Professors Herman Jones and Lester Walker  who worked diligently in the Reed and Brass Sections of the Dreamgirls Orchestra has expressed their desires for The Wiz

Benedict College Fine Arts Department Theatre Ensemble and Samuel French, Inc. are working out the finer details required for The Wiz music materials.  Auditions are open calls and are held on Wednesday - Friday, September 5 - 7, 2007 at 6:30pm - 9:30pm in the Ponder Fine Arts Theatre on campus.  Production dates are November 14  17, 2007; for tickets and promotion information call 803-705-4711 and/or 803-705-4358, fax is 803-705-6599; email brooksc@benedict.edu.

The Wiz

Adapted from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum : Book by William F. Brown ; Music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls; Majestic Theatre, Broadway - January 5, 1975 (1672 perfs); Lyric Hammersmith, London - 8 December, 1984

Very many know the story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but in this new musical version it's a fantasy for today - mysterious, opulent and fanciful  a dream conjured up by a space-age child with Dorothy's adventures in the Land of Oz set to music in a dazzling, lively mixture of rock, gospel and soul.

  • "Radiates so much energy you can hardly sit in your seat ... Great fun." New York Post
  • "A carnival of fun ... Wickedly amusing." Time Magazine
  • "One of the most cyclonic blasts to hit Broadway in a long time." Newsweek

"A virtual musical circus ... Driving rhythms, soaring songs ... Boisterous, exuberant." WABCTV.

Synopsis

The Wiz is a black version of the perennial Wizard of Oz. The characters and story line are largely faithful to the 1939 movie version of L. Frank Baum's 1900 story.  It begins on a tumbledown farm in Kansas, but the tornado sets Dorothy and Toto down in a bit-city-like Oz. The words are jive, the songs upbeat. After celebrating the demise of the Wicked Witch of the East with the Munchkins, Dorothy departs for the Emerald City with a live yellow brick road. She encounters a hip Scarecrow who wants to join her because he has a feelng he isn't going anywhere; an uptight Tin Man who needs Dorothy's help to hang loose again, and a mama's-boy Lion who has lost faith in the psychiatric help he's been getting from an owl. Together they will seek help from the Great Man in the flashy city.  They encounter the deadly poppy field, and all escape except the Lion, who is tripping  off with a group of the sensuous flowers. He is rescued by the mice squad, decidedly against his will. They meet with the Wizard, who agrees to grant all their wishes as a package deal - if they knock off Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West. They nearly get to Evillene but are captured by her manacing winged monkeys. Only when the witch is at her meanest does Dorothy lose her cool and douse the old hag with water. Quite surprisingly, the wicked witch melts to a harmless puddle. Confronted with their triumph, the Wiz confesses that he was only a two-bit con man from Omaha until the Almighty Himself told him to come to the big city to spread the word about the simple things in life - power, prestige, and money - that only through his ability to give everyone in town a pair of green sunglasses has he been recognized as the powerful Wiz. Then, using similar magic, he convinces the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion of their brains, heart, and courage. There is the normal mix-up during his departure in his balloon without Dorothy and the re-appearance of the good witches, Addaperle and Glinda, who inform Dorothy that she has merely to click the heels of her silver slippers together three times to return home.

The Cast:

42 parts, 11 principals, 4 pit singers, 14 sing/ dance chorus.

Dorothy, petite actress with good singing voice who dances.
Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion, exceptional character actors who sing and dance.
The Wiz, character man who sings.
Evillene, character actress with strong voice.
Addaperle and Glinda, actresses who can sing.
Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and Lord High Underling, actors who can sing.
Yellow Brick Road, Munchkins, Crows, Kalidahs, Poppies, Field Mice, Winged Monkeys, sing/dancers in clever costumes, who can act.
The dog Toto.
Large sing/dance chorus. Written to double small parts and features.

Total cast 50-70.

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