The Wiz (Fighting Chance Productions)
It’s a well-known fact that musical theatre is the bread-and-butter of Fighting Chance Productions. Ryan Mooney, artistic director of FCP, has built an ensemble of fantastic young actors who give their all in each and every production they perform in. I have had the pleasure of seeing some of their other productions, one of my favorites being their adaptation to musical theatre of the well-known movieThe Wedding Singer. I will fully admit I did not know what to expect from The Wiz, but I am happy with what was delivered to me. Fast-paced, funny and energetic (like most of the work that Fighting Chance Productions does), The Wiz is a must-see, witty, irreverent and funky production.
The Wiz has a variety of musical numbers that will make you tap your feet while you watch. And your neighbour won’t mind, trust me Sean Parsons is as always, incredibly funny in his incarnation of The Lion, although for God… that hair, that hair!!!! Nick Fontaine, who owns my heart with every performance I see him at, showcases his voice for the first time since I last saw him in Rent.
In a risky and daring move, actors/singers in The Wiz were fitted with wireless microphones, which at one point led to a minor mishap. Sound issues seem to appear with relative frequency at Fighting Chance Productions’ early opening nights, but I would attribute that to the technical and sound team, as the deployment of each actor, the choreography and the music itself, as well as the band, are supreme.
Lucas Blaney (The Scarecrow) was a surprise to me. He melted my heart with his portrayal of a brain-less scarecrow, and his vocal abilities are notable. But the one who steals the night and who is absolutely brilliant (without any detriment to the rest of her cast) is Arielle Tuliao in the role of Dorothy. Man, does that girl know how to sing, and HOW! Arielle is going places, trust me on that one.
It was nice to see the choreographic work of Dawn Ewen for the second time in a row (the first being 42nd Street), as I am a trained dancer myself. While there were some minor rough patches in the performances, I was absolutely in love with each and every number. Believe In Yourself is definitely the song of this show.
Jennifer Suratos as Aunt Em, and Glinda (Emily Canavan) have some powerful pipes, and they aren’t shy about showcasing them. Overall, I would encourage my readers to check The Wiz, playing until April 30th at Presentation Works. I had a wonderful time, so did JT and from what I have read from my fellow theatre bloggers, it looks like we weren’t the only ones.
Disclosure: The tickets to attend the play were sponsored very generously by Fighting Chance Productions. Thanks to Ryan Mooney for always being so generous with tickets for me and for my readers. While I did not pay to attend the musical, I will very gladly pay to attend a repeat performance, as it is a great production. This post hasn’t been paid for either. In any review I write or publish on my site, I retain editorial control at all times, and producers and publicists are well aware of this. Should you have any questions/concern feel free to contact me via e-mail through my contact form.