T.C. Williams High School The WizBy Cappies • May 2nd, 2013 • Category: Cappies
Think of the classic tale of The Wizard of Oz. Now replace its famous twister with a group of dancers, whipping around the house, spinning through intense choreography, creating that same classic tornado with only their bodies. Add soaring soul numbers, a seductive poppy field, and a sassy gatekeeper and get ready for T.C. Williams High School’s delightful production of The Wiz.
The Wiz, based on L. Frank Baum’s popular book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” opened on Broadway in 1975 to critical acclaim. In addition to garnering seven Tony awards, including Best Musical, the show was an early example of one with an African-American cast, indicating the growing acceptance of civil rights within the Broadway community. The Wiz sticks very closely to its basis, as Dorothy is swept away from her home and plopped down in the magical land of Oz. In order to get back home, she is instructed to find the Wiz, whose incredible magical powers can help her get whatever she needs. The story follows Dorothy on her adventure as she makes new friends, faces unimaginable terrors, and realizes the true meanings of disappointment, faith, and hope.
Leading the show was Samantha Williams as Dorothy. Williams’ portrayal of the overeager little girl was cute, and her excellent vocals tore down the house in huge numbers such as “Home.” At her side was the cohesive group of the Scarecrow (Ben Ribler), the Tinman (Alejandro Cruz), and the Lion (Kamen Wilks). The three had excellent chemistry together, while also showing exceptional individual talents as vocalists, actors, and comedians.
Supporting the traveling quartet was a powerful cast of smaller characters. Standing out was Barbara Peisch as Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North. Peisch had terrific presence that helped set the tone of the fun show. She also had smart comedic timing and a strong voice that benefited the development of the character. Sarah Paez as Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West, created contrast to the rest of the bright and happy show. Her committed portrayal of the villain caused the audience to particularly relish her melodramatic death. The ensemble brought great energy, especially in the first act, which reinforced the lively nature of the show.
The tech elements helped to capture the atmosphere and tone of the show. Student director Sarah Laane did a tremendous job blocking the large cast efficiently and effectively. Despite seeming to span several eras, the costumes were on point in creating a fun vibe for each Munchkin, while contrasting well to those of Evillene’s servants. The detailed set also contributed to the story, without obstructing any of the performance.
T.C. Williams High School’s cast used their abundant vocal strengths, superb comedic timing, and strong characterization to create an exciting and enjoyable production of The Wiz.
by Lily Habenstreit of Albert Einstein High School
Photos by Laura Paez
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/9450.