A spokesperson for the actor told Playbill On-Line, "Ben Vereen has been approached with regard to the Wizard role on Broadway, and we are currently in discussions." The role of the Wizard in Broadway's Wicked was created by Cabaret's Joel Grey. George Hearn, a two-time Tony Award winner for his work in Sunset Boulevard and La Cage aux Folles, currently plays the role and is scheduled to stay with the production through July 2005. A star of stage and screen, Ben Vereen made his Broadway debut in Jesus Christ Superstar, earning a Tony Award nomination for his performance. He nabbed the Tony for his work in Bob Fosse's production of Pippin and has also starred on Broadway in Grind, Jelly's Last Jam and Fosse. The recent revival of I'm Not Rappaport marked Vereen's non-musical Broadway debut. Vereen was nominated for Emmy Awards for his performances in "Roots," "Intruders" and 1976's "The Bell Telephone Jubilee." He also received Golden Globe nominations for his work in "Funny Lady" and "Ellis Island."
With a score by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman, Wicked began previews on Broadway Oct. 8, 2003, with an official opening Oct. 30, 2003. The company currently includes Tony winner Idina Menzel as Elphaba, Jennifer Laura Thompson as Glinda, George Hearn as The Wizard, Carole Shelley as Madame Morrible, Joey McIntyre as Fiyero, Michelle Federer as Nessarose, Christopher Fitzgerald as Boq and William Youmans as Doctor Dillamand.
Directed by Joe Mantello, Wicked features choreography by Wayne Cilento and plays the Gershwin, 222 West 51st Street. Tickets are available by calling (212) 307-4100 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com.