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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.

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 Oz. 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 go to Oz 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. 

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

Schedule
Student Matinee Pricing

Themes

Black Excellence

Celebration of Black Culture

Collaboration

Coming of Age

Conflict Resolution

Courage & Resilience

Cultural Pride

Friendship

Identity

Overcoming Obstacles

Self-Discovery

Teamwork

 

Curriculum Connections

Adaptations

Cardinal Directions

Culture

Decision Making

Goal Setting

Good vs. Evil

Hip Hop

Sequencing

Weather

 

Vocabulary

Cellar

Disgraceful

Expression

Jive

Lubricate

Offense

Patience

Pollinate

Poppy

Ramshackle

Tinsmith

Twister

 

Minnesota State Benchmarks

Literacy

Reading

CCRA.R.2; CCRA.R.3; CCRA.R.5;
CCRA.R.6; CCRA.R.7;

Speaking & Listening

CCRA.SL.1; CCRA.SL.2; CCRA.SL.3;

Language

CCRA.L.3; CCRA.L.6;

Arts

Artistic Foundations
Theatre, Music, & Dance

Benchmark 1, Benchmark 2, Benchmark 3.2

Artistic Process: Create or Make
Theatre, Music, & Dance

Benchmark 1

Artistic Process: Perform or Present
Theatre, Music, & Dance

Benchmark 1

Kidcentricity

Kidcentricity is an online and interactive creative collaboration that puts young people and theatre artists together to work on the design for a theater production. This year, Kidcentricity will be working on The Wiz. Designers upload videos to the Kidcentricity website asking the students a question. Students can answer the question in whatever way they see fit such as videos, power point presentations, drawings, models, etc. Educators are encouraged to connect the questions to the classroom curriculum. The student’s ideas are then sent via email to schools@childrenstheatre.org and are uploaded to the Kidcentricity website for designers to view and be inspired. The designers then post a video response to the students’ ideas, sharing with them how their ideas inspired the overall design. 

There is no cost to participate in the project although we do encourage participants to attend the show. Visit the Kidcentricity website at www.childrenstheatre.org/Kidcentricity or email schools@childrenstheatre.org for more information.

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