Original Cast Members to Reunite for Free Central Park The Wiz Concert

News   Original Cast Members to Reunite for Free Central Park The Wiz Concert
 
Phylicia Rashad will join fellow original cast members André De Shields and Dee Dee Bridgewater for the upcoming free concert performance of music from The Wiz in New York's Central Park, to celebrate the show's 40th anniversary.

Dee Dee Bridgewater in <i>The Wiz</i>
Dee Dee Bridgewater in The Wiz Photo by Martha Swope

Officially titled "The Wiz: A Celebration in Dance & Music," the Aug. 12 event will include performances of original songs and dances from the show. It will take place on the Central Park Summerstage.

Original choreographer George Faison has organized the event and will repeat that task for the Aug. 12, with musical direction by Damien L. Sneed. For his work on The Wiz, Faison was the first African-American to win a Tony Award for Best Choreography.

How The Wiz Went from Nearly Closing On Opening Night to Becoming a Tony-Winning Hit – Here's What Happened in 1975

Rashad, who played a Munchkin in the chorus of the original Tony Award winning 1975 production, will emcee the concert, with performances by De Shields (The Wiz); Tony Award-Winner Bridgewater (Glinda), Ebony Jo-Ann (Addaperle), Wallace Gary (The Scarecrow; and Inaya Day (Dorothy). More casting will be announced shortly.

William F. Brown wrote the book for the soulful contemporary retelling of L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." The Wiz also features music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls. The original 1974 production, directed by Geoffrey Holder and choreographed by George Faison, won seven Tony Awards including Best Musical. The premiere Broadway company featured Hinton Battle, Tiger Haynes, Stephanie Mills, Ted Ross, Dee Dee Bridgewater, André De Shields and Mabel King. Diana Ross and Michael Jackson starred in the film version. The Tony Award-winning score includes "Home," "Ease on Down the Road," and "If You Believe," among others.

SummerStage takes place at Rumsey Playfield; enter Central Park on 69th and 5th Ave. Click here for more information. Seating will begin at 7 PM. The outdoor performances take place rain or shine.

The show is also headed for a major television production on NBC-TV, titled "The Wiz Live!," on Dec. 3, with another original cast member, Stephanie Mills (Dorothy), taking the role of Aunt Em.

Today’s Most Popular News: