Houstonia – REVIEW: The Wiz Shines Bright in All Its Emerald Glory

Nov 19, 2018 | News

With its themes of home and believing in yourself, The Wiz is an easily likeable, pop-music-fueled good time over at the Hobby Center. TUTS’s production is a kaleidoscope of candy colors backed by powerful vocals and wildly infectious songs. This is the kind of show where, if you’re having a bad day when you walk into the theater, you’ll come out wondering what was getting you down.

When The Wiz premiered on Broadway in 1974, it was a straight-up revelation—as well it should’ve been. The retelling of the Wizard of Oz story featuring an all African American cast combined the rhythms of disco, gospel, R&B, and soul on its way to win seven Tony awards (the only major category it lost was for its book, by William F. Brown, which is tissue-paper thin). Here was a show that showed people of color not only in starring roles, but all over the stage. It brought the strains of popular music from the radio into the theater—and sent them right back out onto the radio once more, with “Ease On Down the Road” being a Top-40 hit, landing at No. 1 on Billboard’s Disco File in 1975. The show went on to be adapted into a movie starring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross in 1978.

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