Peekskill’s production of “The Wiz” — which had been scheduled for this week — has been pushed back, due to the impact of snow days and canceled rehearsals. The performances will now be at 7 p.m., May 7, 8 and 9.
Peekskill “The Wiz” has all things great and small.
The small are 4th- and 5th-graders from Hillcrest Elementary School. At a recent rehearsal, they squirmed and wriggled on the edge of the stage as they practiced their songs in the Motown remix of “The Wizard of Oz.”
The great is 6-foot-2-inch Peekskill senior Brian Cureton Jr., a gentle giant who plays The Cowardly Lion.
He’s heading to Marist College next year, with an eye on communications, criminal psychology or teaching.
“The Wiz” is just his second production. He was in “The Breakfast Club” earlier in the year. And now, he’s The Cowardly Lion.
(Sophomore Arianna Hurtado is Dorothy, freshman Gordon Evans is Scarecrow, and freshman Justin Hahn is the title character.)
“I like the freedom of acting, and getting to meet new people. The Lion is such a jokester and he’s always playing around. He has a lot of freedom, too, and everybody loves the Lion. If I walk around in the Lion costume, people will say ‘Hey!’ I like that aspect of it.”
His big song is “Mean Old Lion.” “We got the dance going,” he says.
The senior says he wishes he had been bit by this theater bug a bit sooner.
“I just recently started to open my shell,” he says. “Now that I’ve gotten into theater, I’ve made so many new friends. It’s been a wonderful experience.”
Cureton says he shares one trait with the character he’ll play early next month.
“I’m afraid of dogs. I’m 6’2″ and people ask me how I could be afraid of dogs. It’s just some dogs. Not all dogs.”
Not afraid of the stage. Just some dogs.
“The Wiz” — 7 p.m., May 7, 8 and 9. $15, $8 students. 914-737-0201. ** Here’s the Running Lines video I shot at Peekskill. Enjoy!