It never ceases to amaze us how many talented people we have living here in western Washington. What's even more astounding is how many of us have talents we don't even know about until someone else helps us discover them. That's what's happening to a group of local kids in rehearsals now for the musical, The Wiz - A Search for Brilliance.
There's a lot of nerves and excitement for kids getting ready to perform in one of the biggest summer musicals in Seattle.
"Teen Musical is a 20-year program we started for kids of color, young kids of color, at risk or low income to have an opportunity to do traditional theater pieces that would normally not allow them to take the lead role," explained Isiah Anderson Jr., Director of Teen Summer Musical.
About 200 kids tried out for The Wiz - A Search for Brilliance this year, the largest group ever to audition for this long-running summer program put on by Seattle Parks & Recreation. About a hundred made the cut.
"The Wiz, is definitely a story we're trying to teach our kids," said Michelle Lang, Music Director for Teen Summer Musical. "We're trying to teach our kids that in order to have that joy, that magic and that rock stardness, you have to go get it. You can't wait for somebody to bring that to you. You have to go get that."
This program leaves lasting memories. Even past performers are now bringing their own kids to experience the magic.
"They return to share their stories and encourage the kids of today," continued Anderson Jr.
"So many times our kids get recognized or observed for what they don't do, how they're not succeeding, how they're not excelling, so this is one of those occasions where we put them in front of an audience, we put them in front of a community honestly, and we say look, they're good, they can do good, not only can they do good they can do great, they can do brilliant," said Lang.
Refined was there as family and friends got a sneak peek of the show just a few weeks before the kids perform in front of a big crowd at Seattle's Moore Theatre.
"We're going to do some stuff with the music that is just going to take you to a place, kind of back down memory lane," explained Anderson Jr. "You'll hear the traditional music, but we're going to throw a twist in there."
You can see The Wiz - A Search for Brilliance at The Moore Theatre August 24-26. For tickets, click here.