Fresh from the Broadway stage as Lola in Kinky Boots, Todrick Hall is touring the country performing his original musical, “Straight Outta Oz,” which tells his personal story by taking inspiration from The Wizard of Oz. I initially put the video on to have background noise while I cleaned, but the high production value of the whole video quickly drew me in to give my full attention to what I was watching.
If you have not (surprisingly) heard of Todrick Hall, here is some background. Todrick Hall has had a unique path. In 2007 he was in The Color Purple on Broadway. He posted his first YouTube video in 2008. I was first introduced to him when I saw him audition on the ninth season of American Idol in 2009. I believe it worked out for the better of his career that he only made it to the semi-finals, because he became well known but was not bound by the Idol winner’s contract, so he had control of his career. In 2010, he was in Memphis on Broadway. He continued to gain a fan base and popularity on YouTube, and MTV took notice, so in 2015 MTV gave him a television show named Todrick that followed him making YouTube videos. Todrick has gained over 2.4 million YouTube subscribers.
I heard that Todrick was going to tour his “Straight Outta Oz” show and did not know what to think when I read the write up online. Knowing Todrick’s background, I knew it would be a solid show; however, I did not know what to expect. So it was brilliant marketing for him to post his entire video on YouTube so his viewers know what the show is, and for the entire soundtrack to be available for purchase on iTunes.
“Straight Outta Oz” on YouTube captivated me. The cinematography of the entire video was immaculate. The costumes were well crafted. Each song in the whole one hour and eleven minute video could stand alone, are catchy enough to be played on the radio, and pays clever homage to different aspects of The Wizard of Oz.
What initially caught my eye about “Straight Outta Oz” was the diverse star power that Todrick secured for his project: Wayne Brady (who also had a run playing Lola in Kinky Boots on Broadway), dancers from Dance Moms, various Drag Queens from when he judged RuPaul’s Drag Race, Tracie Thoms (Rent), Raven-Simone, Tamar Braxton, Nicole Scherzinger, Grace Helbig (YouTuber), Shanice Williams (The Wiz: Live), Perez Hilton, Amber Riley (from Glee), Jordin Sparks (season six winner of American Idol), Glozell (YouTuber), Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and RuPaul.
People who may not agree with Todrick’s lifestyle or some of the language used should be able to appreciate the amazing creativity showcased in “Straight Outta Oz.” The various song genres and choreography represented cleverly tells Todrick’s story of his road to OZ Angeles in a freshly original way.
I have two favorite songs, for different reasons. Todrick’s song, “Water Guns” with Jordin Sparks seamlessly transitioned his story to spotlighting Trayvon Martin, Christina Grimmie, and the Orlando shootings to make a statement about different races standing together. My other favorite song was Todrick’s song, “Papi” with Nicole Scherzinger because it was a smart, modern take on the poppy concept from the original Wizard of Oz.
If you are interested in seeing Todrick’s live show, go here to secure tickets. One thing the live performance may remedy is achieving better transitions between each song. My main concern is that since his video is so well done, his live production may not live up to the perfection he worked so hard to obtain on camera.
To see Todrick’s video, watch it here.