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Approximate run time: 2 hours, including a 15-minute intermission
Run time and other details are subject to change during rehearsal process.

A Children’s Theatre Company and Penumbra Theatre Production of
The Wiz
Adapted from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Book by William F. Brown
Additional material by Tina Tippit
Music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls
Directed by Lou Bellamy
Assistant Directed and Choreographed by Patdro Harris
Best enjoyed by all ages

Ease on down the road with Dorothy and her friends in this dazzling mixture of rock and soul music. Embark on this Oz-some adventure through a magic land where you will meet funky monkeys, winkies, Addaperle and Evillene. You don’t need a wizard – just believe in yourself to find home and feel that brand-new day!

About Penumbra Theatre
Penumbra Theatre was founded in 1976 by Lou Bellamy to create a forum for African American voices in the Twin Cities theatre community. Penumbra has achieved national recognition for its quality productions and role in launching the career of many respected playwrights, including two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson. Today, Penumbra Theatre is Minnesota's only professional African American theatre, and is one of only three professional African American theatres in the nation that offer a full season of performances.

The Wiz

Welcome, School Groups!

Children’s Theatre Company offers Weekday Student Matinee performances for your classroom, homeschool, or community educational group. Attending a CTC performance ignites students’ creativity, while supporting your curriculum and learning goals. Thanks to grants and our generous donors, student matinee tickets are available at a significantly lower price than our public performances and are further discounted for schools with a free and reduced lunch rate of 30% or higher. Information about themes, length, curriculum connections and state standards along with a full synopsis for each show is available on our student matinee webpage.

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Performance Description

The Wiz is a musical performed by a large cast of adults and student actors with a live orchestra. Set, costumes, and props are elaborate. This production is a collaboration between CTC and Penumbra Theatre and will feature songs from the original Broadway and movie adaptations. Penumbra Theatre is Minnesota's only professional African American theatre, and it is one of only three professional African American theatres int he nation that offer a full season of performances. This production will feature Paris Bennett as Dorothy. 

This production takes place on the United Health Group Stage and seats up to 745 people.

Approximate run time: 2 hours including intermission
Run time and other details are subject to change during rehearsal process.

Plot Synopsis

written by Elissa Adams, Director of New Play Development
Be warned: This is a complete synopsis of the play, so it is full of spoilers.

On a small, ramshackle farmhouse in Kansas, Dorothy, a bright, energetic young teenager, is being scolded by her Aunt Em, a farmer's wife who is disappointed that Dorothy isn't ready to accept the adult responsibilities necessary to life on a farm. Despite her strict manner, it is obvious that Aunt Em cares very much for the girl.  A tornado sweeps up Dorothy's house, and carries it to the strange, mystical and magical land of Oz, where it kills the Wicked Witch of the East. The witch's death causes quite a stir among the Munchkins and the Good Witch of the North, Addaperle. When Dorothy asks the Munchkins and Addaperle how she is to get back to Kansas they advise her to visit the great Wiz. A yellow brick road appears, but Dorothy is frightened of the journey she must take.  Her fears are alleviated by a friendly scarecrow perched on a pole in a cornfield whom she frees. He tells her about his dream to have brains.  Dorothy tells the Scarecrow that the Wiz could probably help him and the two decide to join forces with the "road" on their way to the Emerald City.  In a small patch of woods along the yellow brick road, they find a rusted Tin Man who begs for some oil and tells the two he wants a heart to make his life complete. They ask him to join them and the three set out.  Their journey is interrupted by the Cowardly Lion who tries to convince them of his ferocity.  He turns out to be under the psychiatric care of an owl and decides to visit the Wiz in hopes of finding courage.  When the Lion shows his cowardice in a fight with the Kalidahs, a frightening witch-like gang, Dorothy comforts him. When the four find themselves in a poppy field, Dorothy remembers the warning that Addaperle gave her about the dangerous poppies. She warns everyone to leave the field but the Lion succumbs to the treacherous poppies. Luckily a paddy wagon containing four mice from the "Mice Squad" comes in and rescues the four travelers. Finally, the group arrives in the futuristic Emerald City and meets its exotically and exquisitely dressed inhabitants. All the citizens wear green glasses as part of their apparel. The four eventually meet the Wiz who makes a fantastic entrance and strikes a magnificent pose, which overwhelms everyone. The Wiz introduces himself to the travelers, who are thoroughly frightened by what they have just witnessed. The Wiz listens to their problems and though he appears very harsh with everyone's requests, he is deeply moved by the Tin Man's song. He agrees to grant their wishes if they kill Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West and the most powerful witch in Oz. We see Evilene, in her castle, instructing her slaves, the Winkies, not to bother her for she is in a bad mood. When an unfortunate messenger has the bad luck to have to report on the presence of Dorothy and her friends the angry Witch kills the messenger and summons the winged monkeys. The monkeys are sent to capture the four friends, eventual kidnapping of Dorothy. At Evilene's castle, as Evilene threatens her friends and humiliates the Lion, Dorothy hurls a bucket of water on the unsuspecting Witch, who begins to melt and finally is reduced to a pile of smoldering cloth on the floor. The Winkies shout with joy at the death of their captor. The four return to Emerald City where they discover the Wiz is a fake.  The Wiz reveals to Dorothy and the others that he really isn't a Wizard but a plain old nobody from Omaha, Nebraska whose hot air balloon got swept up in a big storm and landed in the middle of a ladies social in Oz. These women, having never seen a hot air balloon before, expected him to do another miracle so he devised the green glasses that everyone wears. The four friends are puzzled until he explains that the miracle behind the glasses is what you allow yourself to see. The Wiz reaches into his magic storage chest and begins to hand out his miracles: a box of All Bran cereal sprinkles for the Scarecrow, which he dubs "all brain"; a large, red satin heart for the Tin Man; a whiskey bottle marked O & Z, which he throws together in a chalice and has the lion drink for courage; and a promise to take Dorothy back to Kansas in the balloon he arrived in. At a farewell launching where the citizens are bidding their leader goodbye, the balloon accidentally ascends without Dorothy. Dorothy, in a fury, throws a temper tantrum which is interrupted by a puff of smoke and a dazed Addaperle who tells the foursome that her sister, Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, is on her way. Glinda arrives and tells Dorothy to rest her body and her mind. Glinda then tells Dorothy she can go home if she believes in herself. Dorothy begins to sing of her "Home" and is reminded by her friends that she can return to Oz by clicking her silver shoes and thinking of them. All her friends in Oz slowly disappear, leaving her alone. Toto, her dog, appears and Dorothy realizes that she's home.

Content Advisories: (subject to change as the production goes into rehearsal)

Language: 0 out of 5 

Themes and Situations: 2 out of 5 
Dorothy gets swept up by a tornado. Dorothy wakes up in a strange place. Whiskey is consumed to give the Lion courage. 

Violence & Scariness: 3 out of 5 
The tornado can be scary. The Wicked Witch of the East dies. The Lion tries to fight the Kalidas. Evilene keeps the Winkies as her slaves. Evilene is evil and can be intimidating. Evilene kills a messenger. Winged monkeys can be intimidating. Dorothy is kidnapped by Evilene. Evilene is melted by Dorothy.  

Sensory Advisories: 3 out of 5 
The tornado will be loud. Addaperle appears in a puff of smoke. Strobe lights and fog are used

Potentially Anxious Moments: 2 out of 5 
A tornado happens onstage. Dorothy is kidnapped. 

Cast

Greta Oglesby
Greta Oglesby | Aunt Em, Evillene Greta Oglesby made a big splash in the theatre community when she played the lead in Tony Kushner’s Caroline, or Change at the Guthrie Theater. Her performance was described as “ravishing,” “indelible,” “powerful,” “magnificent,” “heartbreaking, “brilliant” and “the best performance on a Twin Cities stage this year.” Oglesby won the Ivey Award for that performance. Her résumé includes roles at Penumbra Theatre including Piano Lesson; Ballad of Emmett Till; and Black Nativity; Akeelah and the Bee (Children’s Theatre Company), five seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Crowns; Burial at Thebes; Sunshine Boys; Appomattox (Guthrie Theater); Gem of the Ocean; and Amen Corner (Goodman Theatre in Chicago). Greta has also published a book entitled Mama`n Nem: Handprints On My Life (Kirkhouse).


Dennis W. Spears
Dennis W. Spears | Uncle Henry, Tinman Dennis has performed roles in Cookie Jar; Once on This Island; A Village Fable; and Stinky Cheese Man (CTC). As a Penumbra Theatre company member, he has enjoyed roles in Piano Lesson; Two Trains Running; Black Nativity; Spunk; Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope; A Raisin in the Sun; Get Ready; and I Wish You Love. Dennis is a jazz musician and has performed nationally and internationally with Moore By Four. He received honors as Best Male Jazz vocalist at Minnesota Jazz Music Awards. Dennis is a 2011 Ivey Award recipient, a 2013 Minnesota Music Awards inductee and a recipient of the 2017 Lou Bellamy Excellence in Acting Award!


Aimee Bryant
Aimee Bryant | Addaperle, Ensemble Aimee has appeared on many stages since graduating from Howard University. She was most recently in A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie Theater. Her CTC credits include: Stampin´, Shoutin´ & Singin´ Home; A Year with Frog and Toad; Splash Hatch on the E Going Down; Dr. Suess’s Seussical the Musical; Akeelah and the Bee; and Seedfolks. Aimee is also a teaching artist and songwriter. Her original music can be heard on her debut album Becoming, available through iTunes, CDBaby.com and most other online music retailers.



T. Mychael Rambo
T. Mychael Rambo | The Wiz T. Mychael Rambo is delighted to return to Children’s Theatre Company (Amber Waves) and work with Penumbra Theatre again (Black Nativity; Get Ready; Piano Lesson). Other credits include principal roles at the Guthrie Theater (Crowns; Caroline, or Change), Illusion Theater (Always and Forever), Mixed Blood Theatre, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Ten Thousand Things, Theater Latté Da, Park Square Theatre and Minnesota Opera. T. Mychael has performed in international and regional tours. He can be seen in feature films as well as local and national television commercials. He is also the recipient of a Regional Emmy Award, McKnight Artist Fellowship and a Sally Ordway Irvine Award.


Rudolph Searles III
Rudolph Searles III | Lion Rudolph is excited to be making his debut with Children’s Theatre Company and Penumbra Theatre in The Wiz. Recent credits include: Ordway Center for Performing Arts (In The Heights; Jesus Christ Superstar; Irving Berlin’s White Christmas; Songbook Series: Rebels on Broadway; A Chorus Line; Pirates of Penzance; Damn Yankees; A Christmas Story: The Musical); Chanhassen Dinner Theatres (Sister Act; Disney’s The Little Mermaid; Hairspray); Park Square Theatre (The Color Purple; Johnny Baseball); 7th House Theatre (Hair); and Merry Go Round Playhouse (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee). He attended Casper College and Minnesota State University at Mankato and is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association.

 

Paris Bennett
Paris Bennett | Dorothy Paris has enjoyed roles in Once on This Island (Children’s Theatre Company); Rent (The Lab Theater); and The Night Before Christmas - A Musical Fantasy (Guthrie Theater). Bennett has also starred in films such as: Mama, I Want to Sing! with actress Lynn Whitefield and Grammy Award winners Patti Labelle and Ciara; and as Denise in Tyler Perry’s Aunt Bam’s Place. A season five Top 5 contestant on American Idol, she has sung alongside many phenomenal national artists and is now preparing for the release of her third album entitled BREAK FREE.


Jamecia Bennett
Jamecia Bennett | Glinda, Ensemble Jamecia is a Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, director, vocal arranger, producer and the new lead singer of the three-time Grammy Award-winning Sounds of Blackness. Select album credits include: Janet Jackson, Sting, Rod Stewart, Erykah Badu, Prince, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle, Usher, Ann Nesby, Paris Bennett, James Grear & Company and many more. Performing actress in Caroline, or Change and director of The Night Before Christmas – A Musical Fantasy (Guthrie Theater). Select performing credits include: Detroit 67; Black Nativity; GIRL Shakes Loose; Get Ready (Penumbra Theatre); Rent; The Rocky Horror Show (Lab Theatre); Blues in the Night (Ordway Center for the Performing Arts); Lonely Soldiers (History Theatre); I Know I’ve Been Changed; I Can Do Bad All By Myself; Madea’s Family Reunion (Tyler Perry Productions); Men Cry in the Dark (Michael Baisdon); Passing Strange (Mixed Blood Theatre and Drummers Theatre); The Color Purple (Park Square Theatre) and Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Capri Theatre). Assistant Director of Annie (Ordway Center for Performing Arts).


Dwight Leslie
Dwight Leslie | Scarecrow Dwight is excited to be making magic with Penumbra Theatre and Children’s Theatre Company in The Wiz. Dwight is currently a 2017-18 Performing Apprentice with Children’s Theatre Company. He has enjoyed roles in Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Children’s Theatre Company); Hair (Enlightened Theatrics); Next to Normal (New Theatre in the Square); World of Wonder (Matt Davenport Productions); Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Rock of Ages (McLeod Summer Playhouse); Godspell; Mary Poppins; Beauty and the Beast; and Once on This Island (Gainesville Theatre Alliance); Aida; Les Misérables; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; Fiddler on the Roof and All in the Timing (Florida School of the Arts).


China Brickey
China Brickey | Ensemble, Understudy Aunt Em, Evillene, Glinda, Dance Captain China Brickey, a former CTC Performing Apprentice, is so excited to return to Children’s Theatre Company for this powerful and important collaborative production with Penumbra Theatre! Past CTC productions include: Cinderella; Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical; The Snowy Day and other stories by Ezra Jack Keats; The Wizard of Oz; as well as a tour of The Snowy Day to Seattle Children’s Theatre last January. Recent Twin Cities productions include: GIRL Shakes Loose (Penumbra Theatre); The Privateer (Transatlantic Love Affair); and Ghost: The Musical (Old Log Theatre). China is also a teaching artist and received her B.F.A. in Acting with a Music Minor from Millikin University in Illinois.


Eli Cambridge
Eli Cambridge | Ensemble At 12 years old, Eli’s theatre experiences include Simba in The Lion King JR.; as well as roles in Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963; and Sideways Stories from Wayside School productions of the FAIR School/ Stages Theatre Company partnership. He also performed in Stone Soup at Stages Theatre Company. When Eli is not acting, he enjoys playing basketball and dancing.


Dionna Commodore
Dionna Commodore | Ensemble Dionna is excited to be in The Wiz, her first role with Children’s Theatre Company and Penumbra Theatre. She has previously appeared in The Orphan Train and a school play titled Camp Sunny Smiles, where her love of theatre began. She attends middle school at Linwood Monroe Arts Plus Magnet, located in Saint Paul. Along with her love of singing, dancing and acting, she is also active with her Girl Scout Troop 55325.


Raphael Dow III
Raphael “Ray” Dow III | Ensemble Raphael began training in Ballet, Modern (Horton Style) and West African dance styles at TU Dance Center where he has been training for five years. He has also been perfecting his craft in multiple styles of hip-hop for two years, including freestyle and choreography. In Minnesota’s hip-hop scene, he is a part of an All-Styles Crew named D.E.A.D.P.O.O.L, and a Krump family named KAUTION. As part of the A+ dance ensemble, he was invited to perform in the 2014 Sage Award Winning ROOTED: Hip Hop Choreographers’ Evening. Ray is a high school senior at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, as well as a second year student at Concordia University in Saint Paul.


Liliana Felton
Liliana Felton | Ensemble Liliana has enjoyed performing in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast JR.; Fancy Nancy; Disney’s The Little Mermaid JR.; The Mitten; The Wiz; James and the Giant Peach; Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Snow Queen at Stages Theatre Company. She has also appeared in Almost to Freedom with SteppingStone Theatre and Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Children’s Theatre Company. When not performing on stage, she enjoys time with family and friends. Liliana is a senior at Minnetonka High School.


Marc Gill
Marc Gill | Ensemble, Understudy Scarecrow Marc is a recent transfer from Memphis, Tennessee. While performing in the Mid-South, Marc has enjoyed roles at Playhouse on the Square (Rent; Kiss Me, Kate; Memphis; Sister Act; and Byhalia, MS); Theatre Memphis (Chicago; Six Degrees of Separation). Although he has only been in the Twin Cities for a short time, Marc has worked with some wonderful Minnesota-based companies including Sidekick Theatre, Minksy Theatre and GTC Dramatics. Marc was also the recipient of the 2017 Diversity on Film and Stage Award for Supporting Actor in a Drama. Determined not to let the drastically different climate change slow his progress, Marc is looking forward to showing the Twin Cities what he has to offer.


John Jamison
John Jamison | Ensemble, Understudy Lion John has enjoyed roles in GIRL Shakes Loose (Penumbra Theatre); Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical; The Snowy Day and other stories by Ezra Jack Keats; The Wizard of Oz (Children’s Theatre Company); Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Artistry); A Midsummer Night’s Dream; and A Christmas Carol (Guthrie Theater). John is also a former CTC Performing Apprentice, so he’s excited to be returning in this amazing collaborative production! He also wants to send XO’s to his friends and family for their endless support.


Rajané Katurah
Rajané Katurah | Ensemble, Understudy Addaperle, Dorothy Rajané is ecstatic to be a 2017-2018 Performing Apprentice here at the Children’s Theatre Company. She is a 2017 alumna of Spelman College, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Arts in Drama and a minor in Spanish. Rajané has also trained at the British American Drama Academy (BADA) in London, England. Selective theatre credits include: Born For This: The Bebe Winans Story (Alliance Theater); Gee’s Bend (Spelman College); The Revenger’s Tragedy (BADA); Big River (The Unquowa Rep); Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Children’s Theatre Company). Rajané is eternally grateful to God, her super supportive family and her guardian angel, Pop-pop! #DREAMBIG @RajaneKaturah


Saniya Long
Saniya Long | Ensemble Saniya is making her stage debut in the Children’s Theatre Company and Penumbra Theatre production of The Wiz. She has trained with D and A Talent and was fortunate enough to receive several awards for her acting at the Industry Network event in Los Angeles, California, in June 2017. She is excited to be joining this talented cast and looks forward to growing both personally and professionally.


Aliya Mukamuri
Aliya Mukamuri | Ensemble Aliya has enjoyed roles at Children’s Theatre Company as Yvette in Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical and Crissy in CTC’s Theatre Arts Training Senior Intensive HAIR. This is her first time working with Penumbra Theatre, and she has performed in productions with Minnesota State University Theatre, including: Aida; Hairspray; Annie; Les Miserables; A Christmas Story; and The Miracle Worker. Recently, she has been honored as a finalist in Popular Voice by the National YoungArts Foundation.


Gregory Parks
Gregory Parks | Understudy Tinman, Uncle Henry, The Wiz Gregory has toured with Feld Entertainment (Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Disney Live! Winnie the Pooh) and Japan’s Kinoshita Circus. He has performed with Impossible Salt (The Stranger; Protector of Osmir; Wise One) and performs for Science Live at the Science Museum of MN. Other local credits include: An Octoroon (Mixed Blood Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Park Square Theatre); Promise Land (Transatlantic Love Affair); War With the Newts (Sandbox Theatre); and Klingon Christmas Carol (Mounds Theater). He also performs a mostly silent solo improv show, Where I Am Now.


Christopher Patiño
Christopher Patiño | Ensemble Chris is very excited and thankful for the opportunity to debut in The Wiz for Children’s Theatre Company and Penumbra Theatre as an ensemble member. He is a current senior at the Performing Institute of Minnesota Arts High School, majoring in dance. He has performed in many dance concerts for his school, but has ventured out to musical theatre, ultimately landing his first role in this co-production with two professional theatre companies. He hopes this is not his last!


Kyra Richardson
Kyra Richardson | Ensemble Kyra is thrilled to be doing her first production with Children’s Theatre Company and Penumbra Theatre. She has been onstage and backstage in productions with Youth Performance Company (Home on the Mornin’ Train; The Giver; Just Before Sleep; Narnia), Ashland Productions (Les Misérables; Grease), Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists (Once On This Island; The Laramie Project) and Roseville Area High School (Around the World in 80 Days; Shrek the Musical; Seussical; and Ordinary Days). She studies voice at MacPhail Center for Music, dance at Celebrate! Dance Academy and is currently a senior in high school.

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