The Wiz

By L. Frank Baum, Charlie Smalls and William F. Brown (St. Louis Black Repertory Company)

Director Ron Himes has apparently told his cast to play big in the relatively intimate Grandel Theatre, and it's a strategy that works well. This is a large cast, with bit players in multiple roles as various denizens of Oz and lots of smart and sexy dancing choreographed by Vivian Anderson Watt, who may enjoy the Solid Gold dancers but clearly has spent time in the contemporary dance world. Scenic designer Felix E. Cochren has contrived tidy set pieces (a tiny Kansas domicile, an artistic creation of plumbing fixtures for Evillene's domain) that whisk on and off. Reggie Ray's costumes for the chorus rely heavily on the simple sarong style, but his duds for the principals are towering confections -- here, those shiny slippers are the least of it.

The Wiz continues through June 25.

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