BJCC addresses problems with The Wiz Live!

Similar Wiz Live! performance in Louisville

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The BJCC says it’s encouraging the group that promoted the Wiz Live! show to give dissatisfied ticket buyers their money back.

We dug deeper into the performance and learned another Wiz show in Louisville had audience members demanding refunds.

And now, we’re hearing from a cast member in that Louisville show who said what happened here in Birmingham is eerily similar.

Newspaper article in Louisville newspaper explains how patrons want refund after show.
Newspaper article in Louisville newspaper explains how patrons want refund after show.

Two Wiz performances in just over two months are stirring up a lot of anger on social media with customers saying they didn’t get what they paid for.

We found video on Facebook from this past weekend’s show at the BJCC, but shortly after the show began, angry posts flooded social media.

People posted videos and pictures of what many are calling a low-quality performance.

And those reviews were very similar to those in a Louisville Courier Journal article about a Wiz performance last year.

“It was terrible," one woman told the paper. “Dorothy was wearing a Walmart dress. They forgot their dialogues.”

A former cast member, who was in that Louisville show, blames the director for the low quality performance.

“He’s taking people’s money. He doesn’t care about the product,” she said. “I just felt like, if he wasn’t going to take responsibility, and hide, then I needed to say something.”

We can’t confirm if the two shows had the same director.

People posted pictures on Facebook after Wiz Live! show at BJCC.
People posted pictures on Facebook after Wiz Live! show at BJCC.

We’re waiting to hear back from the publicist. But there’s no question Birmingham and Louisville patrons have some of the same feelings.

As for that former cast member, she said those on stage were just as in the dark as those in the audience.

“He had actors building pieces of set that he told us that he’d been up for months working on. And there were no set pieces,” she said. “I didn’t even have a costume. He told a fellow cast mate to tell me to go out on stage in jeans in a t-shirt, which would not have at all been my character.”

The BJCC told us it’s had a successful relationship with American Entertainment Group in the past, the group that promoted the show.

As for the potential refunds, the civic center said the promoter’s decision will have an impact on the possibility of holding any future events.

The full statement reads:

The BJCC entered into a contractual agreement with Mr. Tarver and American Entertainment Group providing rental of the BJCC Concert Hall. Mr. Tarver’s subsequent business arrangements would need to be addressed by Mr. Tarver.

The BJCC has worked with Mr. Tarver and his company on a number of successful engagements in recent years including dates with Fantasia, Anthony Hamilton, KEM, Brian McKnight, Lalah Hathaway, Frankie Beverly and Maze and Charlie Wilson. We are highly disappointed that this engagement of The Wiz Live! did not measure up to expectations in keeping with prior events produced by Mr. Tarver. The BJCC on behalf of patrons experiencing the show has strongly encouraged Mr. Tarver to offer refunds to those ticket buyers that have expressed their dissatisfaction with the show. The decision by Mr. Tarver will impact any consideration of future events at the BJCC by Mr. Tarver and his company American Entertainment Group.

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