'The Wiz' ★★★

"The Wiz" is hard to do well. This truly quirky piece funks up the already funky L. Frank Baum tale and throws Dorothy and her semi-animate pals into an urban tornado swirling somewhere between empowerment and blaxploitation. But after rather enjoying Stacey Flaster¿s bizarre but strangely freeing new production at Theatre at the Center, I¿m convinced the only way to successfully revive this show is to fully embrace its inner strangeness, lack of political correctness and lurching rhythms, and enjoy its myriad contradictions. The three main aces in Flaster¿s zestfully choreographed pack are James Earl Jones II, Jesse Dean Stanford and Darius Colquitt, who play the Lion, Tinman and Scarecrow. -CHRIS JONES <br><br><b> Through Aug. 7 at Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road,Munster, Ind.; $36-$40 at 219-836-3255 and theatreatthecenter.com</b><br><br>Read the

"The Wiz" is hard to do well. This truly quirky piece funks up the already funky L. Frank Baum tale and throws Dorothy and her semi-animate pals into an urban tornado swirling somewhere between empowerment and blaxploitation. But after rather enjoying Stacey Flaster¿s bizarre but strangely freeing new production at Theatre at the Center, I¿m convinced the only way to successfully revive this show is to fully embrace its inner strangeness, lack of political correctness and lurching rhythms, and enjoy its myriad contradictions. The three main aces in Flaster¿s zestfully choreographed pack are James Earl Jones II, Jesse Dean Stanford and Darius Colquitt, who play the Lion, Tinman and Scarecrow. -CHRIS JONES

Through Aug. 7 at Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road,Munster, Ind.; $36-$40 at 219-836-3255 and theatreatthecenter.com

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