Cast and Crew unite to present The Wiz


Jasmin Lewis, Staff Writer

Changing through orange, yellow, green and blue lights, the stage in the auditorium lit up for the spring musical Friday April 14 and Saturday April 15 at 7:00pm. 

The original “The Wiz” is an African American musical film created by William F. Brown in 1978. The main character Dorthy is a Kansas girl who gets swept up in a tornado and transported to the land of Oz, where she’s led to the wizard by Addaperele, the good witch of the North (Ra’Mya Golden, junior). She meets Tinman (Chyace McCree, sophomore), Scarecrow (Kaydn Bardwell, sophomore) and Lion (Victor Seay, junior).

They all are on an adventure to see The Wizard (played by Casey Beard, freshman) so they can all get what they most desire in life. Dorthy intends to return to Kansas; Tinman wants a heart; Scarecrow wants brains, and Lion wants courage. In the end, after going through a long journey, they are disappointed to find out The Wizard is a sham the whole time. Glenda (Rosemary Shawver, junior) tells them the only way to get what you want is to believe. 

While the crew and cast felt prepared for the performance, there was extra stress added to the last show.

“Closing night we had the tornado warning and the storm; we had a leak on stage, especially on my side, so that was a major set back,” Kiara Fall, senior and assistant stage manager, said. “We were able to work around it and move the props in time. If we did not it probably would have made things worse.”

Moreover, there were other small setbacks that the crew had to overcome.

“Crew doesn’t typically get a lot of recognition but they were on it,” Kendrick Hooks, theater teacher, said. “For one example, our lead mics went out one night, and the left stage crew jumped right on it and got them back on the stage like nothing happened; no one noticed. I appreciate my cast being flexible and my crew being ready to spring into action.”

Even with the obstacles, the cast and crew expressed their joy for the play and their performances, especially with Hooks as the new teacher. This was his first big show since the pandemic, and there were 90 students involved. 

“I would say my favorite part was just seeing them all feel that sense of both relief and accomplishment of being able to get through the production,” Hooks said. “The Wiz is a very big show, so just seeing all their accomplishments really touched my heart.”

Preparation for the set took over a month, and students started rehearsing back in January. Jalah Brown, senior, played Dorothy but didn’t join the cast till February.

“The most difficult part was learning the lines,” Brown said. “Some days I would do well, and some days I wouldn’t. Sometimes I just wanted to give up, because it’s like ‘dang, we just going to have to keep going over and over again,’ but eventually I got it. A lot people helped me like my mother, Mr. Hooks and my friends.”

The production took involvement from everyone; no one could slack off. 

“When we worked as a team, it really took the pressure off of everybody,” Kenya Calvert, crew member, said.