Tin Man (Played by Elijah Ali) and Lion(Played by Tony Massey)
(Charlotte, NC)- June 3, 2017-- Last night, Be A Lion hit Charlotte for a week long commemoration at the Duke Energy Theater from May 31 until June 9, 2017.
This isn't the shows first run in the Charlotte area. In fact, it's the third season for the beloved Brand New Sheriff Production.
Rory Sheriff, Award Winning Playwright, Author, and Forbearer of BAL, found himself watching Oz one evening, and his creative wheels began to turn, "What happened after Oz?"
Be A Lion is a story created from the context of Oz, but with a twist... It's a fantasy world that resumed after the the wicked witch (Evilina) was destroyed. However, the sorceress had an offspring, that people in Emrald City heard about named Damneesha.
Now, Damneesha wasn't anything like her mother. She was the typical girl, wearing pig-tails, colorful frocks, and a gust of happiness in her spirit. That is... until she finds out from a newspaper clipping that her mother was brutally murderd by Dorothy, The Lion, Tin Man and the Scarecrow.
Adding insult to injury, lemon in the eyes and salt on the wound, Damneesha learned that Emrald City celebrated her mothers death.
Damneesha (Played by Melody Williams) pictured with her Flying Monkey Father.
Damneesha learns all of this in the opening act and goes from the cute little girl to a demonic apparition once she finds out the truth. She vows to get revenge on all the evil-doers who took part in Evilina's dimise.
She calls for her squad of Flying Red Crabs, and set out to destroy Emrald City, with the Lion set heavy in her sights.
Somewhere off in the wilderness, Lion is living the good life with his scholarly side kick, Miles "The Mouse (Played by Kineh Sams N' Gaojia)
Totally ignorant to the imminent changes coming, Lion is approached by a meesenger called, Miss One (Played by Crystal Little).
Miss One tells Lion that Damneesha is taking over-- she and her group of misfits are on the loose. Miss One convinces the lion that he isn't a coward, and he can save Emrald City.
The Lion sets out to find Dorothy who took up shelter in Harlem.
Dorothy (Played by Nailyah Gardner)
This might've been the intermittent year for Be A Lion, but it surely wasn't the same theatrics of years prior to this succeful week of dramatic performances.
From the costumes to thought-provoking dialogue, Be A Lion was anything but mundane, and offered so much more than a mainstream tag line.
Elijah Ali, a funny contour for what the Tin Man should be, he stiffened his posture, and added more drama too his facial expression for clarity, this indeed proved to be a fantastic pick for the BAL cast.
Tony Massey, really honed in on his inner "lion."
His side-splenter outburst in conjunction with barratone spirits similar to Donny Hathaway, lifted the auditorium like an old-school concert.
Montreal Dupri, pretty much a professor-like scarecrow, was intriguingly clever, and not to mention a crooning delight. Though selfish, he pretty much displayed a more level-headed contribution to the cast and not a dimwit, like the original OG, Scarecrow in Oz.
Ruby Edwards is back for her second season playing Ladawn, a Jamaican love interest of the Lion-- with a slight curl of the tongue, she switches between her native dialect to a songstress at the Cotton Club. Her melodic vocals just whisk you away.
Tiffany Cheyenne, is a returning figure, breathing distilled life into her character, Teenie. She is the feuding wife and gold digger, to her filandering huaband, Tin Man.
Her straight-forward talk and bullying demeanor is a sight to watch. Though a reprisal, Tiffany is able to connect with her character by bringing attitude to the brood of acts. Although she doesn't sing, the actress is able to deliver rap lyrics, while spewing the lines, "Tin better have my money!"
BAL was a ball of fire and then some. The cast presented comedy and inspiring music. It's messaging, consistent with dialogue from this generation of political woes and educational barring, was fundamental as well as entertaining.
The BAL reboot is a sincere and kid-friendly production deriving from the Carolinas, one that is beneficial for families. Considering it's parody, which is reminiscent to our favorite musical of all times,The Whiz, the ENTIRE cast did an outstanding job.
Bravo, Good Peeps! Bravo!
According to Rory Sheriff, BNSP is presenting August Wilson's Jitney, from August 31-September 16, 2017.
Visit Brand New Sheriff Productions for more updates and feature presentations.