Broadway Comes to Burbank

  • Dorothy talks to Addaperle.


    February 27, 2019

    This year's Black History Program was totally different from past years. Program Director Monique Wilkes, together with our students and teachers, put together an excellent presentation of the famous Broadway play "The Wiz".

    The Tin Man, the Scarecrow, the Lion, and Dorothy together.

    "The Wiz" is an interpretation of the L. Frank Baum's classic story "The Wizard of Oz" in the context of modern African-American culture. It was a play that made history because it successfully put on stage a multiple award-winning play with an all black cast that appealed to all audiences. "The Wiz" has had several revivals, including a television adaptation which aired in 2015.

    Emerald City entrance.

    It would seem that knowing about such an amazingly successful run would be daunting, but our students were up to the task. Coach Wilkes stated that "Directing this program has truly been a joy. I started with a group of young people with little to no stage or theater experience and have watched them learn and grow in just two months into an amazing cast!" It was indeed an amazing cast, as the students were fearless in their interpretations. They acted and sang their hearts out and the audience really showed their appreciation for their efforts with their applause.   

    Dorothy and her friends are on their way to Emerald City.

    As the story develops, the Scarecrow (Kyrese Anderson), the Tin Man (Damon Lucher), the Lion (Jaylon Jenkins) and Dorothy (Samayah Phillips-Watson) have many adventures on their way to finding "The Wiz", including fighting the Kalidahs. Later on they grapple with the Flying Monkeys in their efforts to fulfill the quest the Wizard gave them. But in the end, after all their tribulations, the message was loud and clear: we already have all we need within ouselves. All we have to do is believe! 

    Dorothy confronting the Wiz.

    The costuming, lighting, sound, and props were all made, built, and managed by our teachers and students. We are very grateful to the PTO for helping fund the production. Special thanks go to Ms. Grout, Ms. King, Ms. Cooper-Johnson, Ms. L. Robinson who headed the special committees. Ms. Jennings, Mrs. Boswell-Jones, and Ms. T. Johnson provided invaluable behind-the-scenes support. Coaches Ragsdale, Davies, and Rogers as well as Ms. Hunley assisted whenever it was needed and Mr. Farris saved all the cardboard boxes which were used in the props. Thank you to Mr. Knittle for always encouraging and supporting us. So many people contributed it was wonderful! This was a labor of love which saw its just reward in the warm applause and smiling faces of the audience. We hope to see you at next year's production!

    For a complete list of participants, please click THE WIZ