“The Wiz,” which premiered on Broadway in 1975, was a retelling of the classic children’s book, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” by L. Frank Baum and featured an all African-American cast. Of course, most people are most familiar with the 1939 film starring Judy Garland. “The Wiz” essentially tells the same story, but with songs in the style of soul music. Trigg County’s multi-racial cast auditioned in May and have been singing and dancing their way to Oz ever since.
Being a fantasy with so many treasured characters, the costumes are certainly a key part of the show’s appeal. Although this production’s costumes weren’t exactly easy to come up with, director Portia Ezell had the good fortune of having directed the show about 10 years ago when she taught at Hopkinsville High School. Most of the costumes she had used back then were still in storage, so Ezell went to the school and searched through the costume closet. Although some costumes had to be altered for the new actors, Ezell was particularly relieved to find that the Tin Man costume fit Thomas Broadbent, the actor laying the character in the new production, just fine. She was glad she didn’t have to struggle with making another similar costume with silver material and plastic pockets.
“The Tin Man was the hardest to make,” she said. “You had to make it look rigid, but it still had to be flexible.”
Even with the old costumes from the school and a few borrowed from other sources, Ezell still needed plenty of help to make enough for the actors in the show. There are 63 costumes in all, she said.
Gail Brazle said she actually helped sew for the sets in the show more than the costumes. She said that many of the sets that Paul Fourshee designed for the show featured different kinds of fabric, including all the backdrops. As far as the costumes themselves go, Brazle said she spent most of her time altering and repairing old costumes. Others who helped included Karen McKee, Jean Martin, Carol Halfast, Kim Roeder and Debbie Clark.
For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.