The Wiz "Remix" | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Wiz "Remix" 

THE WIZ "REMIX," Cornerstone Productions, at the Duncan YMCA Chernin Center for the Arts. This is an updated, Chicago-ized version of the 1975 Broadway hit The Wiz--which was simply The Wizard of Oz with snappier songs, more dancing, and crisper messages. What you're looking for is inside yourself. Don't be distracted by the fake glories of fame and wealth.

Unfortunately, this awkwardly directed show doesn't do the musical justice. In Rueben D. Echoles's staging, Dorothy (played by Donica Lynn and Rashada Dawan) has cleavage (and a distracting live dog), "Ease on Down the Road" becomes a dull disguise for a scenery change, and 16 local high school students dance to hip-hop numbers. More irritating were a number of tech problems: the mikes faded in and out, and the spots weren't always where they were supposed to be. Worse, though everyone in the cast has a creamy, shiver-inducing voice, few reveal any acting ability. Keenan Jamison's costumes are winningly creative, however, especially for the crows, who sport striped yellow-and-black tights, long beaks, patent leather shorts, and feathery black wings.

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More by Jennifer Vanasco

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