THE WIZARD OF OZ: A JAZZ MUSICAL FOR ALL AGES Extends Through June 8, 2019 At Harlem Rep
The Wizard of Oz: A Jazz Musical for All Ages, presented by Harlem Repertory Theater (HRT) and the Yip Harburg Foundation, has been extended through June 8, 2019 due to continuing and steady audience interest. The production has played since October 8, 2016 at Tato Laviera Theatre, 240 East 123rd Street (near 2nd Ave.), Manhattan, and has previously been extended six times.Upcoming performances are Saturdays at 3:00 PM: December 15, 2018; January 26, February 9 & 23, March 9 & 23 and June 8, 2019.
The classic musical features a multi-racial cast, a jazzy underscore and authoritative dramaturgy by representatives of the Yip Harburg Foundation. Director/choreographer is Keith Lee Grant, Artistic Director of Harlem Rep, who is in the midst of a four-year project of presenting classic musicals that have lyrics by E.Y. "Yip" Harburg.
The Wizard of Oz: A Jazz Musical for All Ages, with its timeless score and eternal allegories, is based on MGM's classic motion picture, the stage version mounted here follows John Kane's adaptation for the Royal Shakespeare Company, which is based on the book by L. Frank Baum, with brilliant songs by lyricist E.Y. ("Yip") Harburg and composer Harold Arlen. Dramaturg Deena R. Harburg, President of the Yip Harburg Foundation, in association with librettist Arthur Perlman, have shaped the work to conform to more of the original vision of E.Y. "Yip" Harburg, who was an unashamedly progressive thinker. The cast features Latino, Black and Asian actors, fulfilling Yip's vision of a multicultural universe.
Dorothy, played by Taylor-Rey Rivera, is interpreted as a modern girl and future leader who is growing to realize the confidence she possesses. Her three Land-of-Oz friends-the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion-are envisioned as people of great potential who only need to actualize the heart, brains and courage they already have. One of the story's themes is how the weakness of adults forces children to seize their own destinies and, ironically, to grow up themselves. According to Ernie Harburg, Yip's son and Founding President of the Yip Harburg Foundation, Yip wanted to address Dorothy finally going home as a leader. At Harlem Rep, Dorothy will come home to lead the rebuilding of her family's farm. All the "refocusing" is accomplished through the acting of the characters, without changing the dialogue of the script.
The complete cast is: Taylor-Rey Rivera as Dorothy, Daniel Tamulonis as the Professor/Wizard, Derrick Montalvo as Scarecrow, Isaac Antonio as Lion, Ben Harburg as Tin Man, Barbyly Noël as Aunt Em and Glinda, Emily Ramirez as Miss Gulch and Wicked Witch of the West, Jenna Vega as Guard, Chris Price as Uncle Henry and Ensemble, and Paris Scott and Wilyuly Lopez as ensemble. The orchestra is an international jazz trio of Martha Kato (piano), Dan Aran (musical director and percussionist) and Yoshi Waki (bass).