Wiz in Walden: Musical of Michael Jackson and Diana Ross is a big hit

A SAFFRON Walden performing arts school has put on a successful production of The Wiz, the soul 70s musical originally featuring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.

All 70 pupils of Pure Rhythm took part to a packed house for every performance. Students aged 7-14 dazzled the audience with their singing, dance and acting with highly colourful costumes, powerful voices and plenty of talent.

Directed and produced by principal Sue Raven and Sarah Lane, Pure Rhythm continues to gain quite a reputation for the quality of their productions.

Sue said: “What is lovely is that the older ex-Pure Rhythm students from previous years returned to help back stage, the recording of backing tracks and generally helping with the production.

“We were all so thrilled with the results. For those that missed out we will also be performing couple of numbers from The Wiz at the Saffron Walden Arts festival on June 9 on the Common.”

Sue was also very proud of Florence Russell, who played the Lion in The Wiz. Aged 14, Florence who has been training with Pure Rhythm for eight years and also attends the Kate Plummer School of Dance, has been invited to make her West End debut this summer.

In February Florence attended nationwide auditions along with over 700 other 11-18yr olds for a place in the 2012 National Youth Music Theatre Company. She was successful in her audition, and will join the small cast of 20 this summer performing at the London premiere of Jason Robert Brown’s musical 13 at the Apollo Theatre (August 22-25).

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As well as performing as part of the ensemble, she will also be understudy to the three main characters of Patrice, Lucy and Kendra.

“This is excellent news for Florence as she has been such a dedicated Pure Rhythm student over the years and we all hope she has a fabulous experience over the summer break,” said Sue.

Florence also took part in a fundraising concert for NYMT with Matt Lucas on Sunday at the Vaudeville Theatre, London.

•For those interested in getting involved, Pure Rhythm will be holding two week summer school in August for ages of 7 to 16. Contact Sue Raven at sue.raven@ntlworld.com or call 01799 501579 to book a place.