THE WIZ - NWFSC Summer Musical – July 18-21
If the Tinman had a heart - you would surely break it if you miss the wonderful summer musical THE WIZ, appearing July 18 to 21 at 7:30 p.m. each night at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center in Niceville! The Wiz is a seven-time Tony Award-winning Broadway musical version of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum and sets Dorothy's adventures in the Land of Oz to a dazzling, lively mixture of rock, gospel and soul.
The show is a musical carnival of fun for the entire family and includes a cast of more than 25 talented local actors and features songs such as "Ease on Down the Road," "I was Born the Day Before Yesterday," and "Home." Tickets for the July 18-21 performances are on sale now at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center box office for $25 adults and $20 youth ages 18 and younger. There is a $2 per ticket box office processing fee. Tickets may be purchased online at www.mattiekellyartscenter.org or by phone or in-person from the box office at (850) 729-6000.
"This show has everything," enthused director Dr. Cliff Herron, who serves as the Dean of the Fine and Performing Arts division at Northwest Florida State College. "Great music, amazing dance, and tremendous heartwarming fun for all ages, not to mention some talented local dogs in the role of Toto." Herron noted that in addition to an award-winning run on Broadway, THE WIZ was also made into a movie adaptation in 1978 starring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.
Savannah Lewis of Fort Walton Beach captured the role of Dorothy in this rollicking adaptation of L. Frank Baum's classic story. No stranger to the summer musical stage, the NWFSC junior has been seen previously in the popular summer musicals Big River and Grease. Savannah, an active member in the college's Soundsations Showchoir and Madrigals choir, plans to move to New York City in the spring to continue school and pursuing her dreams of being on the stage.
Donovan Black, of Niceville, is adding the role of Tinman to his already impressive resume. In January of this year, Donovan competed for a place on one of the American Idol shows at Walt Disney World's Hollywood Studios. Having won his show, he advanced to the finalists' show – which he won, becoming the first American Idol for 2012.
Joining Savannah and Donovan in the lead roles in THE WIZ are two more of the Soundsations Showchoir's bright stars: Javonte Coleman, of Fort Walton Beach, and Hector Delgado of Niceville. Javonte, currently working toward an Associate of Arts degree, was cast as Scarecrow - marking his second summer musical at NWFSC. Hector, a sophomore, was selected to play Lion and has been involved in local musical theatre for about four years with lead roles in high school productions of Pirates of Penzance, Bye Bye Birdy, and the NWFSC musical Grease.
A newcomer to the college's stage will be Yakeem Jones from Crestview as The Wiz. Aunt Em and Glinda the good witch will be played by the mother-daughter team Evelyn Beliveau and Nakara Beliveau, both of Niceville. Evelyn trained at the Performing and Visual Arts Center in Miami and has danced in several musicals, including: Chicago, The Wiz, and Ain't Misbehavin'. Nakara has also been involved in a number of musicals and performing groups, but is currently focusing on completing NWFSC's bachelor's program in Elementary Education.
Rounding out the lead roles, and making their stage debuts, are "Scooter" Shires, a Scottish Terrier, and "Rosie" Willa Kedroski, a Cairn Terrier, both of Niceville – who will share the role of Toto the beloved dog of Dorothy.
Making her fourth appearance in an NWFSC summer musical, Shakira Oswald a fourth grade teacher at Liza Jackson Prep School in Mary Esther will play the character Addaperle. She has also appeared in Guys and Dolls, A Chorus Line, and Grease. The role of Evillene was double-cast with Chevon Corlew Coleman and Ralondra Brown, both of Crestview. They will each play the role on alternating nights. Chevon has had leading roles in The Wizard of Oz, Cinderella, Snow White, and the Broadway musical Ragtime. Rolandra is a newcomer to NWFSC, but is no stranger to performing. She has performed in the Houston area in plays such as: Hairspray, The Wiz, and Aristocats.
Other ensemble actors who round out the cast include: LaDonna Cole, Andrew Knight, Ashley Meyer, Shannon Mosley and Sarah Hawn of Fort Walton Beach; Tyler Corbin, Zachary Allen Phillips, Mallory Olds, Anne Melia, Rebecca Wheeler, and Danielle C. Fox of Niceville; Caleb Bartee, Celise Blackman, and Quentin V. White of Crestview; Lyndsi Stevens of Santa Rosa Beach; Joshua Whitaker of Freeport; Vini Febus of Navarre; and Nate Beechum of Shalimar.
Due to the show's strenuous vocal requirements, the production will also feature pit-singers: Kimberly Pitts, Celeste C. Jones and Darion Harrington of Crestview; Sarah Schmidt of Destin; and Allison Everitt, Kristen Byrne, Amy Bishop, Laura Hernandez and Jeremy Ribando of Niceville.