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Theater Info for the Washington DC region

St. Mark’s Players The Wiz

By • May 13th, 2008 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of St. Mark’s Players’ production of The Wiz [MP3 4:14 1.9MB].

The Wiz
St. Mark’s Players
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Washington DC
$20/$18 Students and Seniors/$15 Child under 12
Through May 24th

Laura: This is the ShowBizRadio review of The Wiz, performed by St. Mark’s Players in Washington DC. We saw the performance on Sunday afternoon, May 11, 2008.

Mike: The is the new musical version of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. With book by William F. Brown and music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls. Dorothy’s adventures in the land of Oz have been set to music in a dazzling lively mixture of rock, gospel, and soul music. Everybody knows the story, but now it is a new fantasy for today.

Mike: This was a fun, upbeat show, everybody seemed to have a good time, including the actors, and the audience. The dancing was lively. It was really enjoyable. I did have a good time at this show. There were some “adult” scenes mixed in, but the youngsters will just gloss over that. There were a few four letter words uttered in the second act. But again, I think the little ears will gloss over that and will have a good time at this colorful show.

Laura: Three of the characters: Dorothy, the Scarecow, and the Tinman I thought did well. Dorothy was plyed by Ivana Alexander, The Scarecrow was played by Daryl Anderson and the Tinman was played by Justin Latus. I thought they did well together and complemented each other. They all had nice voices. There were some microphone issues, but they overcame those well. When Dorothy was wearing those silver slippers, my heart went out to her, they looked like very uncomfortable shoes. They were really high, but she did well bebopping around. Something else I liked was with the Scarecrow and the Tinman. When they were not the focal point of the action on stage they were still interacting with what was going on. That kept things going and the pace moving along.

Mike: The Lion was a great character, played wonderfully by Terry Spann. He just took over the scenes he was in. He kind of had the annoying sidekick role and he did that pretty well. I especially liked the Poppy scene in the first act. That was one of the adult scenes. Again, I think most of the kids would gloss over what was happening with the poppies. It was an adult scene, probably the most adult scene in the show.

Laura: I also thought the costumes were very bright and colorful. There were a lot of costume changes. The Costume Designers were Ceci Albert and Rose Hartman.

Mike: The limitations of performing in a church were obvious. They had to use a thrust stage. Because of the different lighting effects they used it was a very simple set, with very few set piece brought onto the stage. The set was designed by Bob Bell. One of the important features of the set was a large backdrop that was also a set of doors that would be used occasionally. Behind that was another screen. On the front of the doors you had different scenes that were portrayed from an overhead projector. When the door was opened there was another screen with things being projected from behind. It was a very creative use of the space. The Lighting was designed by Jeff Auerbach.

Laura: I also thought the choreography was very good. Choreographer was Richelle “Rikki” Howie. We talked to her briefly after the show and she said it was an all new cast and a very young cast. They did well. They were mostly together most of the time, with a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm.

Mike: There were several scenes where the music overpowered the performers, That could have been either the performer not being able to project or it could have been that the microphones were not turned on or tuned correctly. That was a bit distracting in some of the scenes. The second act was much better than the first act in that regard so maybe the sound problems got addressed during the intermission.

The show ran two and a half hours with one intermission. It is playing through Saturday May 24. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and a Sunday matinee on the 18th at 4 PM at the St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill in DC.

Laura: We’d like to invite you to join our free mailing list so you can stay informed with theater events in the DC region.

Mike: And now, on with the show.

Cast

  • Dorothy: Ivana Alexander
  • Munchkins: Chase Ammon, Sheina Crystal, Maddie Hartke-Weber, Hatem-Turner, Alegra Jordan, Emma Herman, Elijah La wrence, Eliza Malakoff, Nancy Scofield
  • Scarecrow: Daryl Anderson
  • Ensemble: Jeffrey Scott Auerbach, Andrea Gerald, Nikki Gerber, Paige Grayson, Lexi Haddad, KJ Jacks, Betsy Kingston, Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence, Cindy Prieto, Cari Shenkler, Alexis Truitt, Andy Woo
  • Lord High Underling: Jeffrey Scott Auerbach
  • Addaperle: Mary Ayala-Bush
  • The Wiz: Rafael Cuesta Jr.
  • Glinda: Stephanie Dailey
  • Evilene: Temple Fortson
  • Featured Dancers: ndrea Gerald, Paige Grayson, Lexi Haddad, KJ Jacks, Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence
  • Tinman: Justin Latus
  • Uncle Henry: Charles Lawrence
  • Lion: Terry Spann
  • Auntie Em: Lisa M. Turner

Band

  • Conductor: J.N. Wickert III
  • Piano: Benjamin Lane
  • Reeds: Katrina Ambrose, Dana Gardner, Bob Houts, Gwen Jones, Renae Smith
  • Brass Paul Weiss
  • Bass: David Burrelli
  • Drums: Peter O’Konski
  • Percussion: Laurie Morman

Crew

  • Director: Rick Hayes
  • Assistant Director: Jeffrey Stevenson
  • Stage Managers: Jerry M. Dale Jr. and Christine Farrell
  • Producer: Sherri Haddad
  • Musical Director: J .N. Wickert III
  • Choreographer: Richelle Howie
  • Sound Design: Ed Morman
  • Sound Technician: Heather Cipu
  • Lighting Design: Jeff Auerbach
  • Sound Board Operator: Heather Cipu
  • Light Board Technician: D.J. Simpson
  • Special Effects/Projection Design: Bob Bell
  • Props Design: Michelle Bell
  • Set Design: Bob Bell
  • Set Construction: Bob Bell and Rick Warfield
  • Costume Design: Ceci Albert and Rose Hartman
  • Costume Construction: Eleni Aldridge, Heather Cipu
  • Makeup and Hair Design: Jen Durham
  • Box Office Manager: Beth Hall
  • House Manager: Joye Purser
  • Opening night Party: Jim and Mary Ann Robertson
  • Show Photography: Jerry Dale
  • Program Production: Pamela Blumgart
  • Publicity Photos: Fredo Alvarez
  • Pub Lunch: Rick Warfield
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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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