Ease on down the road to Rhynsburger Theatre

The Mizzou Theatre Department is putting on a performance of The Wiz at Rhynsburger Theatre from Oct. 31 through Nov. 10.

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CORRECTION: A previous version stated the protagonist is finding her way back home to Harlem. The article has been updated to reflect the changes made in MU’s adaptation. The Maneater regrets this error.

The MU Theatre Department puts on many different performances. Through the first two weeks of November, the stage will light up as the department puts on their performance of “The Wiz” at Rhynsburger Theatre.

Originally created in 1978 and directed by Sidney Lumet, The Wiz is a different take on the classic “The Wizard of Oz.” Dorothy, played by sophomore Dacia Slater in the MU production, finds herself in the Wonderful World of Oz and has to find her way back home to Chicago.

“The Wiz is kind of like the Wizard of Oz but soulful,” Slater said. “It’s kind of showing the black experience and how you view the story.”

The cast and crew have worked tirelessly to make this a great performance. Director Joy Powell said they have all had fun while working together on this project and can’t wait for people to see it. She has loved to see this cast of performers improve during this time. Powell also said that this cast will be the largest cast of color the MU Theatre Department has ever seen.

“One of our goals at Mizzou Theatre is to create a place that’s safe for everyone and where all kinds of voices can resonate,” Powell said. “I feel like with this show we’ve really been able to do that in lots of different ways.”

However, it hasn’t been completely easy. Slater said her role as Dorothy hasn’t been a smooth journey. She’s had a lot of fun bonding with the cast, but she had difficulties when reaching certain aspects of her role.

“The biggest obstacle for me is that this part is really challenging,” Slater said. “Dorothy’s a little bit more in-depth than what people see. She also sings really high which has also been a really big challenge for me.”

The musical is a very memorable one for a lot of people. What makes this musical special is the diversity and appreciation of black culture.

“It’s important for me because being at Mizzou, we kind of have a rocky history,” Slater said. “But it’s important for me now, just so people get the experience that we have so people can enjoy and see how we live, how we do things and just to share our culture.”

The culture and uplifting atmosphere are what draw many people to watch the musical. The Wiz tackles many positive aspects of black culture not a lot of people fully understand and brings it to the light with joy and soulful tunes. Powell explained this will be a record number at the box office for a musical in the Theatre Department.

“We anticipate a full sell-out,” Powell said. “We’ve had the largest pre-sales we’ve ever had. We’ve already sold thousands of dollars of tickets and we don’t open for another four or five days. Don’t wait.”

The Wiz will be a show well-anticipated by the MU student body. The cast hopes many people will come and see the show they’ve worked hard to put on.

Edited by Janae McKenzie | jmckenzie@themaneater.com

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