Think you know The Wiz? Think again. It’s not the 70’s movie you might be imagining.
“It’s The Wiz of 2011, it’s the modern version,” said Ian Burns, the 18-year-old senior from Tampa Catholic who plays the Cowardly Lion. “The diversity of characters throughout the play is really cool and the music is very contemporary.”
Toni Morrison, Ben Mercado, Ian Burns and Joshua Walker
Burns has been acting since he was young. In addition to being involved with school and community productions throughout the years, he was in Gorilla Theatre’s Back Among the Flowers, and in Jesus Christ Superstar at St. Paul’s Catholic Church.
When his younger sister Kira began taking ballet at the Patel Conservatory five years ago, Ian discovered the Patel Conservatory Youth Theater (PCYT).
He’s since taken a variety of acting classes and played in PCYT’s summer production of Willy Wonka in 2009.
“I like the fact that the instructors are well educated. They’re not only teachers. They’ve experienced what it’s like to be in the field,” said Ian.
Ian ultimately hopes to be a professional actor. He appreciates the friends he’s made and the bonds he’s shared with fellow cast members of The Wiz.
For Ian, the message of the show is clear. “The show is about believing in yourself and being okay with who you are.”
The show opens this Thurs., Mar. 31 and plays through Sat., April 2. Get tickets here.