Chicago-native actress talks dual role in 'The Wiz,' now playing at Cadillac Palace Theatre

ByHosea Sanders and Marsha Jordan WLS logo
Thursday, November 30, 2023
Chicago-native stars in 'The Wiz,' playing at Cadillac Palace Theatre
Chicago-native actress Melody A. Betts stars as Evillene in "The Wiz" musical, which is now playing at the Cadillac Palace Theatre downtown.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- You can ease on down the road to see a new production of "The Wiz," now playing at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.

Chicago's Melody A. Betts has dual roles as Aunt Em and the wicked witch Evillene. She joined ABC7 to talk about how her hometown crowd is loving the show!

"Chicago is in the building, and they are letting me know that they are so proud of me, and it's everything," Betts said.

She discussed what it's like to look out in the audience and see all the people who knew her and grew up with her.

"It is full circle and kind of amazing to manifest something and be able to live it in real time, being at this theatre," Betts said. "The first soundtrack that I ever owned as a toddler was 'The Wiz.' It was my first record, and I would just play it over and over again, and I would sit and listen to it and allow the world to take me over and open up my imagination."

Betts has embraced the spirit of the story her whole life.

"I want to encourage everyone... to dream it," Betts said. "Whatever it is, dream it and believe it, and then take the ride."

The actress doesn't mind when the audience gets vocal.

"Evillene was asking Dorothy for her slippers last night," Betts said. "She said 'no,' and somebody yelled out 'that's right, Dorothy, don't do it girl!'"

Her Evillene character poster was unveiled Thursday afternoon.

"I've always been a little thick, I call it 'thick-sacious,'" Betts said. "There may have been some people that thought I didn't have star quality, or I would never make it here, but God told me something different. So I continue to believe that and keep moving forward."

You can see "The Wiz" at the Cadillac Palace through December 10th, then it's back on the road before Broadway in the spring.

"Come on through and let it bless you, cause that's what's gonna happen," Betts said.

The actor who gets to play The Wiz will join ABC7 to talk about the musical next week.