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The Wiz Brings Wisdom & Wonder To Springfield's Hoogland

Donna Lounsberry
a scene from Hoogland's 'The Wiz'

Springfield is knocking it out of the park lately with its musical productions and The Wiz is no exception.

Many people will know The Wiz as a funk-infused, high energy moviefrom 1978 with an all-star cast including Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and Richard Pryor. A revivalmade for live TV in 2015 also drew more recent attention to the production.

The show is appropriate for all-ages, though as is discussed in this interview, has deeper meaning than just being pure entertainment. Morgan Minsk plays Dorothy and says, "I didn't really have a lot of black role-models of young women growing up, so when my mom introduced me to The Wiz - this urbanized all-black revival of The Wizard of Oz ... it was cool to see someone who had goals, someone who had vision - and someone who was trying to change her outlook on life." This local production is notable for its own all-star cast, modern dance numbers and projected backdrops featuring artistic photos of dilapidated NYC cityscapes. Tune in to hear more about it from Minsk and director, Craig Williams II.

This coming weekend, September 1st - 3rd, is the last to see The Wiz in Springfield at the HCFTA. Ticket info, here.

Rachel Otwell of the Illinois Times is a former NPR Illinois reporter.
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