REVIEW: ‘The Wiz’ Enchanted All at The Fox Theatre, Offering Family Fun

This rendition of “The Wiz,” a landmark in Black art since its 1974 debut, stays true to the essence of the original story while infusing a bit of funkiness into the settings envisioned by L. Frank Baum. Unlike the film version that places the action in an Oz version of New York City, the stage version hews closer to Baum’s vision.

The heart of the story revolves around Dorothy’s journey to find where she fits in and the strength to be herself. Portrayed by the talented Nichelle Lewis, Dorothy’s innocence, yearning for belonging, and eventual courage to stand up to bullies are convincingly brought to life. Notably, this version skips Toto, maintaining Dorothy’s residence with Auntie Em in Kansas.

The adventure begins with a tornado whisking Dorothy away to Oz, where she encounters the Munchkins in a town square, setting the stage for her journey alongside the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion. Oz is depicted as a fun-filled place celebrating the demise of the Wicked Witch of the East, akin to a New Orleans funeral procession.

The Wiz at Fox Theatre in Atlanta |

Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North, delivers a memorable, irreverent eulogy for her sister Evamean, the Wicked Witch of the East. The show embraces its willingness to break away from convention, with humorous references and jokes sprinkled throughout.

As Dorothy and her friends reach the Emerald City, the Wiz is unmasked as a fraud, creating a visually striking scene with backup singers, dancers, and musical accompaniment. Despite the audience’s awareness of the Wiz’s deceit, Dorothy and her friends fall for his smooth talk.

The story unfolds familiarly, with the quartet tasked to confront the Wicked Witch of the West, Evillene. A highlight of the show is Evillene’s showstopper rendition of “Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News,” delivered with Nell Carter-esque energy by Melody A. Betts.

The well-known climax sees Dorothy melting the Wicked Witch and returning to the Emerald City, only to discover the Wiz’s false promises. Facing disappointment, Dorothy learns from Addaperle and Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, that the silver slippers had the power to send her home all along.

In the end, “The Wiz” proves to be a delightful show for families, with accessible humor and engaging action. The Fox Theatre’s current theater season is undoubtedly enriched by this must-see installment.