Be prepared to be wowed by ‘The Wiz’

‘Brand New Day’ Number
Photo Cred: @famuessentialtheate on Instagram

The Essential Theatre at Florida A&M University has done it again, creating an electrifying version of “The Wiz” at the Charles Winter Wood Theatre.

This rendition of the American classic — playing through Sunday — seamlessly weaves elements of college culture in Tallahassee. The script resonates with themes of family, resilience and adventure, reflecting the timeless essence of Frank Baum’s original narrative.

The production maintained a strong emphasis on safety, with short wait times and professional line procedures ensuring a secure experience for all attendees.

Audience engagement was palpable from the outset, with laughter rippling through the theater and hands raised in applause during solo performances. The skilled light crew illuminated the stage with vivid images, complementing the live pit band and background singers, who provided dynamic support to the cast.

One standout moment took place during scene VII of the opening act, titled “Emerald City,” where soft ballet and swift transitions captivated and enamored the audience.

FAMU’s Essential Theatre even managed to include unique munchkins, who further heightened viewer engagement, showcasing the production’s commitment to creative storytelling.

A notable feature of the staging was incorporating an aisle in the middle of the audience, fostering an intimate connection between performers and attendees and promoting positive energy throughout the venue.

Despite the intricacies of live theater, the cast and crew adeptly handled any unexpected challenges or mishaps, ensuring a seamless and unforgettable experience for all.

Following Wednesday’s opening night show, Rhody Jean, a technical theater major and ensemble member of “The Wiz,” shared insights into the production’s powerful impact on audiences.

 Jean, known for his role as Lucky in the award-winning short film “Whitewashed,” voiced hopes that the audience would depart with a deeper appreciation for the arts.

“We hope the audience leaves with a better appreciation and understanding of the arts,” Jean said.

Jean highlighted the exhilarating energy of the performance, particularly singling out the number “Brand New Day” in the second act as a favorite number to perform. 

“It is a very energetic scene that I love to perform every time,” Jean said.

“The Wiz” proved to be a resounding success, leaving audiences spellbound and reaffirming the enduring power of theatrical storytelling in all its splendor.

The Essential Theatre’s rendition of “The Wiz” — adapted from “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum — is directed by Evelyn D. Tyler.

Tickets for “The Wiz” can be conveniently purchased online at Students enjoy free admission. Location: Tucker Hall Charles Winter Wood Theatre.