Archive for April, 2008

Who Moved My House?

In Return Of The Wiz, Dorothy faces change at each turn. First when she arrives she expects that she can make a simple phone call to have a limo take her home. She comes to find that she must accept various levels of change in her process to go home. The Munchkins lead her to “The Wiz,” finding the Wiz only leads her to another level of change, she must now defeat Evillous to gain her passage home. I know Dorothy must have been saying, “Who Moved My House? At every turn she had to make a decision wither her goal to go home was more important then the steps and trails she had to go through in order to achieve her ultimate goal.

Most people may recognize this term related to the story, “Who Moved My Cheese.” The following reference is provided by Wikipedia.

Who Moved My Cheese? features four characters; two mice, “Sniff” and “Scurry”, and two little people, miniature humans in essence, “Hem” and “Haw”, live in a maze, a representation of one’s environment, and look for cheese, representative of happiness and success. Initially without cheese, each group, the mice and humans paired off, travel the lengthy corridor searching for cheese. One day both groups happen upon a cheese-filled corridor in “Cheese Station C”. Content with their find, the humans establish routines around their daily intake of cheese slowly becoming arrogant in the process.

One day Sniff and Scurry arrive at Cheese Station C to find no cheese left but they are not surprised. Noticing the cheese supply dwindling, they have mentally prepared for the arduous, but inevitable task of finding more cheese beforehand. Leaving Cheese Station C behind, they begin their hunt for new cheese together. Later that day, Hem and Haw arrive at Cheese Station C only to find the same thing, no cheese. Angered and annoyed, Hem demands “who moved my cheese?”. Unprepared, the humans have counted on the cheese supply to be constant. After verifying that the cheese is indeed gone and ranting at the unfairness of the situation, both head home hungry. Returning the next day, Hem and Haw find the same cheeseless station. Beginning to realize the situation at hand, Haw proposes a search for new cheese, but Hem, dead set in his victimized mindset, nixes the proposal.

Meanwhile, Sniff and Scurry have found “Cheese Station N”, a new supply of cheese. Back at Cheese Station C, Hem and Haw, affected by their lack of cheese, blame each other for their predicament. Hoping to change, Haw again proposes a search for new cheese. Hem however, comforted by his old routine and afraid of the unknown, again knocks down the idea. After many days in denial, including a search for cheese behind the wall of Cheese Station C, the humans remain without cheese. One day, realizing his debilitating fear, Haw begins laughing at the situation. Realizing he should move on, Haw enters the maze, but not before chiseling “If You Do Not Change, You Can Become Extinct” on the wall of Cheese Station C for his friend to ponder.

Still fearful of his trek, Haw jots “What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?” on the wall and, after thinking about it, begins his journey. Still with worry, perhaps he has waited too long to begin his search, Haw finds some scattered cheese and continues his search. Slowly losing his denial, Haw realizes that the cheese has not suddenly disappeared, but has dwindled from continual eating, and that the older cheese was not as tasty and had been moldy. After a let down, an empty cheese station, Haw begins worrying about the unknown again. Brushing aside his fears, Haw’s new mindset allows him to again enjoy life; he has even begun to smile again and is realizing “when you move beyond your fear, you feel free.” After another empty cheese station, Haw decides to go back for Hem with the few bits of new cheese he has managed to find.

Uncompromising, Hem turns away the new cheese to his friend’s dismay. With knowledge acquired along the way, Haw heads back into the maze. Still going deeper into the maze, impelled by bits of new cheese here and there, Haw leaves a trail of writings on the wall, hopeful that his friend will be aided by them in his search for new cheese. Still traveling, Haw one day comes across Cheese Station N. Abundant with cheese, some varieties strange to him, he has found what he is looking for. After eating, Haw reflects on his experience. Pondering a return to his old friend, Haw decides to let Hem find his own way. Finding the largest wall in Cheese Station N, he writes:

Change Happens
They Keep Moving The Cheese
Anticipate Change
Get Ready For The Cheese To Move
Monitor Change
Smell The Cheese Often So You Know When It Is Getting Old
Adapt To Change Quickly
The Quicker You Let Go Of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese
Move With The Cheese
Enjoy Change!
Savor The Adventure And Enjoy The Taste Of New Cheese!
Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again & Again
They Keep Moving The Cheese.

Cautious from past experience, Haw inspects Cheese Station N daily and explores different parts of the maze to prevent complacency from setting in. After hearing movement in the maze one day, Haw realizes someone is approaching the station. Unsure, Haw hopes that it is his friend Hem who has found the way.

In essence, in order to really be free to live our lives to “Go Home,” we must let go of the fears that we have inside, accept change, and allow ourselves the freedom to learn lessons along the way.


What’s The Plan Sam?

In Return Of The Wiz, Dorothy and her friends have a set destination. Dorothy knows that in order for her to get home she must: 1. Travel The Yellow Brick Road. 2. Go to Emerald City. 3. See The Wiz. 4. Ask for her and her friends wishes to be granted. 5. Go Home. We all know this story is not that simple right! She must travel the yellow brick road, befriend some unlikely characters, defeat crazed creatures, keep her silver stilettos on, survive Evillous, the wicked witch of the East and a host of bandits. All while gaining the crown to return to the Wiz so, he can grant the wishes of her friends and allow her passage to go home.

One thing we have to keep in mind, is Dorothy had a plan. She had a set destination and a goal that she had to accomplish to return to life as she knew it. There were obstacles in her way, she learned lessons along the way, and gained friends for life. But, she would have not accomplish this feat with out having an end destination.

In life whatever task you must take on, have a solid plan. With a plan you can map out your goals, find people who believe in your goal and also want to see you cross the finish line. Your counterparts will learn more about themselves and how going through the process with you made them grow stronger people. You will also come to know your inner strengths, weakness, passions, and realize that you have more strength to accomplish the goals you set out then you realize. So, what’s the plan Sam?

Start with an ideal, formulate it into a mental map, write out your map, and follow the roads that will lead you Home. How you start doesn’t matter, how you finish will determine who you really are and what you can accomplish if you put your mind to it.

Don’t Take My Heart!

What if someone took away your heart? You would stop breathing and die. Think about what makes you happy, what wakes you up in the morning, what brings purpose to your life? Think about who/what motivates you to be more than you are. That’s your heart. If someone takes away your heart then you might as well die, because without your heart, you can never truly live.

In Return Of The Wiz, Dorothy is a bratty materialistic 22-year old. She expects to be pampered with the finest clothes, jewelery, and shoes. Although her parents came from humble beginnings, Dorothy Marlene grew up in wealth and prosperity. Dorothy has no true reality of who she is, all she can identify with is her material possessions.

We see it everyday in Hollywood, in film, entertainment, sports and the lifestyles of the rich and famous. They live a lavish life, but have you ever wondered what would happen if they lost it all? What would become of them? How would they react to loosing the very thing that makes them popular culture icons?

They would realize a very harsh reality; all I have left is me. They had everything they ever wanted, the materialistic possession defined who they were. Apart from their materialistic possessions they are mere shallow shells of the person who they are really meant to be. Until they come to the end of themselves, material possessions, will forever take the place of their heart.

The Wiz Reviews

Hi Wiz Fans We will list the Reviews for, “The Wiz,” productions from the stage play (s) to the actual movie (s). Since 1975 The Wiz has graced the presence of many viewers, and their have been reviews from movie critics to everyday people enjoying the production. We would like to see what made this production a cultural favorite or movie disaster.

The Wiz-Stageplay Production-(2006) La Jolla

It’s been over 30 years since a hip Dorothy first landed in an all-black Oz in the musical The Wiz. Now, director Des McAnuff and his team at the La Jolla Playhouse have re-imagined the Tony Award-winning show for the new millennium with a multi-cultural cast and other modern updates. For example, Aunt Em’s farmhouse here comes with a satellite TV dish, the Tinman is comprised mostly of junked computer parts, and the Lion is a bag person. But amidst all these new trappings, The Wiz has lost its heart, soul, and magic.

Willliam F. Brown has updated his book for the musical with lots of current street lingo and jokes about emergency rooms and ADD. The production is as high-tech and dazzling as can be, thanks to Robert Brill’s scenic and environmental design, Paul Tazewell’s colorful but often odd costumes, Howell Binkley’s blinding lighting, and Peter Fitzgerald’s souped-up sound. But less would have been much more; the show is so over-produced that the human element gets lost in the razzle-dazzle. (On Wednesday night, the cast had to begin the performance again after the tech crew solved the annoying problem of “white noise” at the top of the show. Later, the need for a computer reboot of a keyboard before the start of the second act contributed to a 35-minute intermission.)

Charlie Smalls’ award-winning score — even with new musical direction, vocal arrangements, and incidental music by Ron Melrose — is the show’s saving grace. Here, the soft-rock melodies sometimes roll over into hip-hop, but the score still snaps, crackles and pops. The cast is in great voice, from the charming Nikki M. James as Dorothy right on down to the lowliest Winkie. James really delivers throughout the show, and her singing of the finale, “Home,” deservedly brings down the house. Valarie Pettiford’s Glinda is a vision of a Follies Bergere showgirl, and she makes “If You Believe” into a true power ballad. Heather Lee milks all the comedy from her brief role of Addaperle, the inept witch with ADD. On the male side of the equation, Tituss Burgess is a crowd pleaser as the cowardly, sissified Lion, and he and James have the right chemistry to sell “Be a Lion.” David Alan Grier’s Wiz is better in his quieter moments than his louder ones, while Rashad Naylor’s Scarecrow and Michael Benjamin Washington’s Tinman don’t make much of an impression.

For all its 21st-century innovation, the original production’s swirling black drape of a tornado had more theatricality than anything on display in this new version, which looks like it consists of bits and pieces of other Broadway shows. The swirling cows, pigs, and grass during the tornado recall The Lion King, and the Munchkin trios — each a human with two puppets at his or her side — remind one of the cheerleaders in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. The cast often eases on down the road that extends into the audience on ramps and platforms, as in Harold Prince’s revisionist staging of Candide — although here, at least, the audience can watch the action on big-screen monitors above the playing area when sight lines are an issue.

Add some Cirque du Soleil-like aerialists, a break-dancing, roller-skating Toto (Albert Blaise Cattafi), and an over-amplified Evillene (E. Faye Butler) who wears out her welcome long before her first real scene. What we have here is a mess of a show trying to pass as a hopped-up rock concert. This Dorothy would have been better off getting into that storm cellar with Aunt Em and Uncle Henry rather than venturing into McAnuff’s strange new world.

Finding The Courage

In Return Of The Wiz, Lion is a cowardly character from the Congo. He was born to be strong, courageous and fearless, yet he was afraid of his own shadow. The very strength that he was made to possess is the weakness that held him back from being who he was meant to be the great and mighty Lion of the Congo. Every person deep down inside knows they were made for a specific purpose. But, we find the very strength that we possess can also hinder us from moving forward and keep us trapped in fear so we never move into our purpose.

When we were born into this world we arrived with an invisible backpack that included all the qualities that make-up the inner strengths and qualities that we already possess. We should never fear the qualities that we possess because those are the vary qualities that brings purpose and meaning to our life.

If you ever find yourself fearing a task that’s ahead of you, search within your invisible backpack of personal qualities and pull out your greatest strengths and be A LION!

Life After Death

In Return Of The Wiz, Dorothy Marlene witness the death of her parents. She is left alone with her dog Toto and forced to face their death by honoring their wishes to have their remains sprinkled over the Hudson.  Have you ever gone through a trauma that shocked you so much you life existence shut down? Here’s a story you may identify with. We welcome your comments.

I Lost Both My Parents Within 9 Months-By Kathi Stauffer

My father passed away June 28th 1998 on my 45th birthday. After he passed away I took my 81 year old mother to live with me and my family she had Alzhiemers. I took total care of her 24 hours a day 7 days a week with no help. My husband told my dad that if anything happened to him we would care for my mom, he wasn’t to worry. I kept my mother with us for 6 long months, some days I thought I would go crazy. January 15 my mother fell on the ice and fractured her wrist, I decided that it was time I made a decision to place her in a nursing home. The hardest decision I have ever had to make in my life. I chose a nursing home nearby so I could visit frequently. She adjusted so well in her new home I was finally happy for her. Her worst fear was being alone, in the home she was never alone. March 8th I got a phone call in the wee hours of the morning from a nurse, saying my mom was headed for the hospital, she was having trouble breathing. I was called later to inform me that mom suffered from congestive heart failure and artial fibrullation, The same thing my dad had.

I was shocked. My mother never recovered, she went back to the nursing home, there they did everything possible for her. I stayed by my mothers side as long as they would let me. She lay in an almost comatose state for three weeks. April 6 my mother left us to be with my daddy. My brother and myself were with her the whole day, I kept telling her not to be afraid and that she should go with dad. I couldn’t tell her enough how very much I loved her and wanted her suffering to end. 3:45 April 6 my mom took her last breath, I was holding her hand, I told her to ‘run’ to dad. The funeral was beautiful, she loved pink and red, so the inside of her casket was a baby pink, I chose a lovely outfit for her that complimented the pink lining beautifully. She looked so peaceful I could almost see her breathing. I am now trying to pick up the pieces of my life, I have spent the last 3 years of my life caring for my mother and dad, I almost don’t know where to begin. All I do know is that after being married for 58 years my mom and dad are together again, and very happy. I am so very sad but at the same time I am thrilled they are happy again. I will see them again some day. I went to bed the night my mom died, with a smile on my face picturing them together.

Please share your story.

We Knew It Would Happen..We Didn’t Know When..Until Now! Return Of The Wiz (The Movie)

Return Of The Wiz (The Movie)

History repeats itself thirty years later with, Dorothy Marlene as the 22-year old daughter, of the late Dorothy Mae, who along with her dog, Toto are engulfed in a swirling hurricane and thrown into the land of Oz.

Dorothy’s challenges begin when she finds her one-way ticket home, granted by the Wiz will cost her the price of her life. Along her journey she befriends a brainless electronically controlled Scarecrow, a heartless Tin Man from Lover’s Lane, and a socially rejected cowardly Lion from the Congo.

The quartet battles against; sinister flying monkeys, reformed munchkins, hideous crawling creatures and the ultimate Evillous, the daughter of the late Evilleen Wicked Witch of the West, before the Wiz will grant their personal wishes.

The Wiz 1978

This is an excellent adaptation of the Wizard of Oz. It displays a cultural twist from the original that is colorful and fun. The characters are well cast; Each bringing a bit of their real personality to the characters portrayed. The sets are huge. They are decorated with the essence of NY only with a dramatic twist of unusual characters like the numbers running “munchkins,” “Ms. One,” “Evilene” and the colorful, magical and musical “City of Oz,” where “The Wiz” lives atop of the by-gone Twin Towers. Quincy Jones arranged the music for this film and it is outstanding. He actually has a cameo in the film. Can you find Quincy Jones? I strongly recommend this film for anyone who enjoys films that afforded Black actors, performers, musical directors and the like with a platform of creativity and artistic interpretation.