People demand refunds after utterly 'sloppy' performance of 'The Wiz'

(Photo: Alton Strupp/Louisville Courier )

(Photo: Alton Strupp/Louisville Courier )

Dorothy forgot her lines, the Cowardly Lion looked more like a bear and the magical land of Oz was displayed on a laptop projector.

A subpar performance of "The Wiz" put on by a concert promotion agency this past weekend at the Brown Theatre has caused dozens of Louisville customers to call and demand refunds, according to an employee at the Kentucky Center For the Performing Arts.

"The Wiz" is an adaptation of the classic 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz" starring an all-black cast.

Island Entertainment KC, of Kansas City, Missouri, put on two shows Dec. 1 at the Brown Theatre. Tickets cost between $35 to $65.

Several people were distraught over the performance and wanted their money back, an employee of the Kentucky Center told the Courier Journal. The person declined to give a name because the employee is not authorized to speak publicly.

"The whole thing is weird," the employee said. "Some people didn't stay more than nine minutes through the show. There was a woman who was so distraught she walked out and spent the entire time talking to the ticket sales people as the show was going on."

Christian Adelberg, a spokesman for the Kentucky Center, declined to say how many calls for refunds the center received and deferred the question to Island Entertainment.

Island Entertainment KC did not immediately return requests for comment sent via Facebook, its website, email and phone.

Helen Barnett, who spent $65 for seats, said she was a fan of "The Wiz" because of its all-black cast. But she described the show as "janky."

"It was terrible," Barnett said. "Dorothy was wearing a Walmart dress. They forgot their dialogues ... at one point Dorothy said she wanted to go back to Texas!" (In "The Wiz," Dorothy is from Harlem while Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" is from Kansas.)

The reviews prompted one of the actors, Kori Black, to speak out about the show in a Facebook Live post. She played the role of good witch of the north and told the Courier Journal that the negative comments have been overwhelming.

“The people who came to the three o’clock show, there was just a lot of issues,” Black said on Facebook. “The three o’clock show ended up being pretty much our dress rehearsal because we didn’t have enough time to do the show full-out at the venue before we performed it.”

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