Updated: Oct 20
It’s been a long time coming, and those involved have been through a lot, to say the least, but youth performers and adults from the MEGA nonprofit (Manifesting Every Great Accomplishment.) are about to put on a re-imagined, reformatted version of the classic musical The Wiz. The 1970’s musical is itself based on the children’s story, The Wizard of Oz.
The play was put on hold last year due to the pandemic, but now the show goes on. And it has a coronavirus twist.
“It’s been reformatted for the time that we’re going through,” said Ron-Shaye Clark, who is co-director along with director Myra Harris.
Ron-Shaye Clark also is playing the role of Dorothy. “We went through so much with this play it was crazy, But to see the finale of it your minds are going to be blown.”
Some of the performers have lost family and friends to COVID-19, including herself, Clark said.
It’s only right to bring light at the end of the tunnel now,” she said.
The musical has been altered to reflect the pandemic environment experienced by the performers as well as those who will be attending. A field of poppy flowers turns into a “Covid” field. Characters in the play have to clothe themselves with green masks in order to be able to view the wizard for the first time.
But Clark indicated the event is meant be uplifting for everyone. It’s hoped the play might be one small antidote of escape during the difficult times we have been living through.
Clark is enthusiastic about the change in mood she has perceived already.
“It’s exciting to just see people smile again,” she said.
The play is also being performed in tribute to Camarin Wallace, a 14-year-old student who was supposed to have performed in the play, but was shot and killed last year in Annapolis. An angel image of Wallace will be present during the performance, having been incorporated into a mural used as a backdrop.
“It makes me emotional every time I see it,” Clark said. “He was a phenomenal student.”
She said young people in the community are confronted with multiple obstacles and dangers these days, from bullying to drugs, from poverty to the pandemic.
“There’s so many of us that are trying to help our young people,” she said. “We just want change that’s all. They’re some amazing kids.”
The play will be one performance only due to the pandemic. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the performance runs from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. at First Christian Community Church, 1800 Apostle Johnson Way, Annapolis. Tickets at the door are $15 for those 3 to 17 years old and $20 for those 18 years old and above. For more information contact Ms. Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Another play, based on the movie “Sister Act Two” is also in the works for MEGA That piece brought back vivid memories of her former student, Wallace, because of a comment he made on her tenacity.
“He used to say ‘Ms. Shaye, you are Sister Mary Clarence (Whoopi Goldberg’s character in the movie),’” Clark explained. “I live by that now. I want to see these young people be the best they can be, and not see the world get in the way.”