FAMU DRS Brings “The Wiz” to Campus

The students of Florida A&M University Developmental Research School received a standing ovation for their modern-twist production “The Wiz” on Thursday night. The play mimics the 1978 film that stars Diana Ross, along with the late Michael Jackson. 

Almost 700 family members, students and friends watched Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin man and the Lion in Lee Hall as they journeyed to see the Wizard of Oz.

“It was a pretty good production,” said Chelsea Washington, 17, an seventh grader and Student Government Association president at DRS. “I was shocked to see them portray the movie so well.”

The cast, along with the faculty and parents, at DRS has worked diligently since February on production.

“The children did a great job; they put their hearts in it,” said Shanaya Graham DRS k-12 music director. “It was a journey, but we made it and I give God the glory.”

The play featured all the characters from Aunt Em to the flying monkeys; however, the characters used modern phrases – adding a comical spice to the production.

“One thing the director and I told the cast was to ‘be yourself, but be the character at the same time’,” said Graham. “When they are themselves and the character at the same time then it will all coincide because that is where the modernism come in.”

According to Graham the parents played a huge role in the production. DRS students’ parents help raised money to rent the facility and towards costumes and crops by selling waters, souvenir books and T-shirts.  

“I’m very proud,” said Trinetta Anderson, the parent of seventh grader Alexis Tennell, 13, who plays Aunt Em. “All the hard work paid off. They have been working tirelessly.”

Proceeds from the play go towards the next production, which has not been disclosed.