Wallis Annenberg Performing Arts Center has a knack of presenting global issues and concerns and humanitarian causes in a theatrical way that is truly brilliant. Most recent case in point is “Witness Uganda, A Documentary Musical,” written by Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews. An autobiographical story,a self proclaimed “documentary musical” genre, this show centers around Griffin, when his NYC church expels him for being gay,and he decides to escape across the world to Uganda to “do good.” He volunteers in a small village, with such an idealistic spirit filled with good intentions. Not all goes as planned, as he faces a society filled with corruption, and a dangerous abduction occurs, that he never in his wildest dreams would anticipate. Set to lively music, an energetic ensemble, and colorful costumes, he brings his incredible, (dangerous, adventurous) journey to life onstage at the Lovelace Theatre in the Wallis. The ensemble includes Antwone Barnes; Jordan Barrow; Dexter Darden; Emma Hunton; Amber Iman; Jai’Len Josey; Naaraj; Kameron Richardson; Sha’Leah Nikole Stubblefield; Thurzday; Keenan D. Washington; Jamar Williams; and Ledisi each are a shining star in song and dance, in his/her own right. Jamar Williams and Emma Hunton, are standouts, as best friends, even at long distance, (Griffin and Ryan), respectively. We realize quickly the importance of fundraising for the survival and livelihood of this nation in need. Some of the musical numbers to remain with you long after show’s end are “I Have A Lover,” “Put It All On The Line,” and “I’d Cross The Blue.” It is quite an achievement to take significant, timely topics such as literacy, immigration, and homosexuality, set to poignant lyrics and messages, sure to resonate with audiences of all ages, genders, races and beliefs. This is a production not to miss, perfectly set in an intimate space that can’t help but draw one in to the urgent, uttermost message of the story.
Through Feb 23