"You never get a second chance to make a first impression."
Brigham Young University's production of "The Wiz," doesn't need a second chance.
BYU's "Wiz," a musical adaptation of Frank Baum's "The Wizard of Oz," is a fast-paced, fun-filled representation of Dorothy's journey to "The Emerald City."On her trip Dorothy (Lita Little) picks up a scarecrow (Charles B. Oliver), a tinman (Dave Tinney) and a lion (James Conlee), each wanting to ask the Wiz (Daniel Law) to help them get home, get a brain, get a heart and get courage, respectively.
Nothing may seem different from Baum's original tale. But they can all sing and dance, and pretty well, too.
You know you are in for a treat when Aunt Em (Kristie E. Monson) sings "The Feeling We Once Had" to Dorothy before Dorothy is carried away by the tornado. You kind of wish she would keep on singing.
Someone had the right idea when Monson returns at the end of the musical as the good witch Glinda to tell Dorothy how to get home by clicking the heels of her magic slippers together three times, in a song of course.
Another highlight was Tinney's "What Would I Do If I Could Feel?" when he asks the Wiz for a heart. His voice could have convinced anyone to give him a heart, but the Wiz didn't. It probably wasn't in the script that way.
Adaptations are nothing without a new character, and Addapearle (Bonnie Wilson) nearly steals the show as the other good witch that Frank Baum didn't write about.
The pit orchestra, conducted by Ron Brough, must have a good time playing the music for the show, written by Charles Smalls. The instrumentalists, along with the "Pit Singers," were an excellent backup to the stage action.
The impressive sets were designed by Linden Snyder and, except for a couple of opening-night flaws, were moved smoothly on and off stage by a bevy of black-clad helpers.
Perhaps the highlight of the musical is its overall message on how to cope with life a little better.
It tells you to believe in yourself, that home can be a good place, and that sometimes you just have to experience life yourself because you might never learn anything if everyone told you everything you needed. If for nothing else, go to see the Munchkins sing backup to Wilson as she sings "He's the Wiz." Fun, fun, fun.