Season of the Wiz

There's no place like Emerald City. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Graft)

Music Circus’ The Wiz leaves a brilliant, green-tinted impression.

By Jim Carnes

You’ve only got until Sunday afternoon to follow the Yellow Brick Road, so get a move on. The Wizard will be leaving town, and it would be a shame to miss him.

The Wiz, now at Broadway Sacramento’s Music Circus, is the most visually dazzling, soulful and enjoyable of this summer’s musical theater series. It shimmers and sparkles and seems to out-do itself with each new scene. It’s full of excellent singers and energetic dancers, and the orchestra (led by Darryl Archibald) blows up the place with Shaft-inspired funk.

Based on the L. Frank Baum classic 1900 children’s story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the play puts a contemporary African-American spin on the story of Dorothy (Adrianna Hicks), a girl torn from her home by a tornado and deposited in Oz, a strange land where dark forces hinder her attempts to find her way back and where only The Wizard (a scorching Alan Mingo Jr.) offers her hope and assistance.

Along her journey, she encounters good witches and bad, and forms a traveling company out of the Scarecrow (Kevin Smith Kirkwood), the Tinman (James T. Lane) and the Lion (Phillip Boykin, a big old pussycat).

A huge ensemble cast portrays Munchkins, Poppies, Winged Monkeys and assorted others. Terry Burrell (Addaperle), Christina Acosta Robinson (Glinda) and Zonya Love (Evillene) are the witches Good and Bad.

As director and artistic consultant, Glenn Casale masterfully manages a stage full of imaginatively costumed performers and gives a heartbeat to a story about love, hope and the importance of home.

Showtimes: Wed 7:30pm, Thu 2pm & 7:30pm, Fri 7:30pm, Sat 2pm & 7:30pm, Sun 3pm; Through 8/11;  $40-$91; The Wells Fargo Pavilion, 1419 H St., (916) 557-1999, broadwaysacramento.com.

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