Sat. Oct 31st, 2020

Theater Review: “The Wiz” and “The Lion and the Jewel” |1980-9

Irene Cara

…Even though “Home” did not receive this year’s Tony for best play, the Samm-Art Williams drama did win the Outer Critics Circle’s John Gassner Play Writing Medallion for the most provocative new play by an American. Also, the James N. Vaughn Award was presented by the Shubert Foundation to the Negro ensemble company, who originated the production….

…”Stomping at the Savoy!” a new musical review, has been packing ’em in at the West Bank Café at Manhattan Plaza on 42nd St. and Ninth Avenue. The show brings back to life the Swing era of the late 1930s, conceived and directed by Ron stacker Thompson. Featured in the production or Ernestine Jackson, who starred in Broadway’s “Guys and Dolls,” Sandra Reeves-Phillips, Cleo Thompson, Brenda Presley, Jeffrey V. Thompson, John Wohl, Bernard Johnson, and the author himself…

…This year’s summer stock production of the Broadway hit, “The Wiz,” features Irene Cara as Dorothy and Ira Hawkins as The Wiz. Re-creating their Broadway roles, Michael Leslie is featured as The Lion, Charles LaVont Williams as The Scarecrow, Ella Mitchell as Evilene. The tour opened in June in Milwaukee and will hit Texas by late August…

Richard Allen Centers Second Annual International Performing Arts Festival at Lincoln Center, closed at the Mitzy new house theater with “The Lion and the Jewel,” a new musical by Wole Soyinka. The play is a collaboration between the Nigerian playwright and the American jazz musician, Billy Taylor. The show featured outstanding performances by Loretta Devine, Clebert Ford, Fran Salisbury and Gayle Turner. Artistic director Hazel Bryant said the festival has given them the opportunity to send new artists, playwrights, actors, and designers to theaters in Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, Philadelphia and Baltimore… .

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