The Wiz | Theater Wit | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Michael Brosilow

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through April 16 2017
Price: $33-$38
kokandyproductions.com
Like most Broadway hits, William F. Brown and Charlie Smalls’s 1975 musical version of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was created to fill a huge stage with actors and dancers and lots of dazzling spectacle. (When it played in Chicago it was at the 4,250-seat Arie Crown Theater.) The beauty of Kokandy Productions’ revival, directed by Lili-Anne Brown and choreographed by Breon Arzell, is that it retains the show’s energy and glory despite being squeezed into a storefront space smaller than many traditional theater lobbies. The secret is casting: Brown packs her ensemble with powerful singers and dancers, all of whom bring the best out of the sometimes dated, corny material. Sydney Charles is especially fine as Dorothy, a role that requires her to play the full range of emotions, from meek and confused to bold and plucky, then end the show with some full-throated gospel. —Jack Helbig

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