Out of Cicero, New York, Evette Dionne reports for Clutch Magazine:
Cicero-North Syracuse High School in Cicero, New York, is preparing a theatrical performance of “The Wiz.” Students have been practicing for weeks, belting tunes performed by Diana Ross and Michael Jackson down the Yellow Brick Down. But none of the featured cast in a beloved black American classic is black. Parents are outraged and the Cicero community is in uproar.
Kierrah Titus was one of seven African-American students that auditioned for the musical, which The Guide to Musical Theater refers to as “a black version of the perennial Wizard of Oz.” Titus was the only one of those seven students chosen and she was relegated to the ensemble dance troupe.
Titus’ mother, Letrice Titus, is one of the parents lodging a complaint against the school. She questions why no black students were selected for leading roles. “Are there no talented African-American students at C-NS?” L. Titus asked a reporter at the Post-Standard. “Was there any outreach to the African-American students in the school? Why didn’t the school just do The Wizard of Oz?”
…This is a blatant disregard for the black American experience and what “The Wiz” signifies for our community. We have few books, plays and movies that holistically represent elements of the black American experience. Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, and the other cast members in the film and on the stage captured “The Wizard of Oz” and made it relevant to us.