‘The Wiz’ Keeps On Amazing

By Alexus Monds
Hillside Chronicle Staff Writer

Editor’s note: The following review is reprinted from the Hillside Chronicle, the school newspaper of Hillside High School.

Going to see Hillside’s 2011 production of The Wiz, I found myself walking into the auditorium with literally every seat occupied.

It was clear that Hillside’s theater department had a full troop of supporters to watch the production and to celebrate the 25th year for Hillside drama department legend, Wendell Tabb, who also directed and produced  The Wiz.

A standing ovation greets the cast and director of The Wiz at Hillside. (Photo courtesy of the Hillside Chronicle)

The cast members were not only Hillside students, but also students from Shepard Middle School.

“Working with the Shepard students helped the cast to see where the future of the Hillside drama department is headed,” junior Kamar Adams said. Adams was also the Scarecrow in the play.

Many of the students in Shepard’s Drama Department continue their aspirations in theater at Hillside.

While working with the students from Shepard, Tyra Scott, who played the role of Addaperle in the play, said that she felt like a “big sister” and that she was “helping the future” of the drama department at Hillside.

The show opened with the prologue, “Kansas,” with Dorothy, played by Shelby Miles, Aunt Em, played by Dominique Lee, and Uncle Henry, played by Justin Williams. The scene ended with a powerful song, “The Feeling We Once Had,” sung by Dominique Lee.

While watching The Wiz, it was evident to me that the cast members enjoyed the roles they were playing.

“It was very fulfilling,” said Scott about performing in front of a full auditorium.

The costumes in the play were “very creative and original,” said Wendy Gilmore, mother of cast member, Naomi Gilmore.

The costumes matched all the scenes well.

The dancers in the play wore blue costumes in order to portray the tornado in scene one, and yellow costumes in scenes two and three to portray the Yellow Brick Road.

The music was also well done and performed by the Pit Orchestra.

“The music could have been on any professional soundtrack,” said Gilmore.

Tabb said his favorite part of The Wiz was “the collaboration between all of the arts including actors, singers, dancers and musicians.”

This year’s production of The Wiz was extremely successful. But even so, there were some changes since the last production of the show.

“We had to be more creative with how we got the funding for the drama department because of budget cuts but it still worked,” Tabb said.

Tabb said he feels blessed to be in his 25th year at Hillside’s Drama department.
“It’s a blessing to be in one place for as long as I have, and it’s important to recognize the students for doing great work,” said Tabb. “That’s part of why I feel I’ve been here for so long.”

Tabb also explained what he thought was the best part about working in the drama department: “The students and how we were able to become a family,” he said. “And by family I mean the staff, faculty and community.”