The Wiz - April 04

Longleaf Middle School

 Director's Note 


The Wiz opened on Broadway in 1974, retelling the classic Frank L. Baum tale, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, in the context of the African American experience.  It won 7 Tony awards, including Best Musical, and was adapted to the screen in 1978 featuring Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Lena Horne, Mabel King, and Richard Pryor.  The Broadway revival in 1984 and The Wiz, Live! in 2015 have kept the story in the public conciousness for over 45 years.


We have been excited about The Wiz at Longleaf Middle School for several years and were thrilled to be able to present it to the students.  Since we know that students connect best to that which is relevant, we searched for ways to make this content relevant to our performers.  You may have noticed that once Dorothy gets to Oz, our version does not follow the movie or  the Broadway show.  Instead, we set our Oz at school, revisiting familiar people, places, and things to make the images and characters come alive for our cast.


The characters transform over the course of the play from seekers to knowers, discovering that what they were searching for has always been inside them.  How closely this parallels the middle school journey as students move from child to young adult, from seeker to knower.  You'll probably also notice that our sets are minimal, giving you lots of room to dress them in your imagination.  We wanted our cast - and our viewers - to be able to find their own resonance with the stereotypical ideas of school, the search for self, and the realization that if we truly know ourselves, we are always home. 


We hope that you, too, find resonance in the show for yourself.  I know that we all have.


Enjoy the show!


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