The Wiz to Be Revived in New U.K. Production to Play in Birmingham and Leeds

News   The Wiz to Be Revived in New U.K. Production to Play in Birmingham and Leeds The 1975 multiple Tony Award-winning Broadway musical The Wiz, which won that year's award for Best Musical and ran for nearly four years at two Broadway houses, will be revived in a new production in the U.K. that will play in Birmingham and Leeds.

It will begin performances at the New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham June 10, prior to an official opening June 14, for a run through June 18, then transfer to the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, running June 24-July 16.

The show, which features a book by William F. Brown and music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls (the musical won the Tony Award for Best Original Score), will be directed by Josette Bushell-Mingo, with a cast featuring the professional musical debut of TV's "X Factor" finalist Treyc Cohen as Dorothy. The cast will also include Peter Straker in the title role, Clive Rowe, Wayne Robinson, Horace Oliver, Allyson Ava-Brown and Melanie La Barrie. They will be joined by a volunteer community cast of singers, dancers and performers from their local communities in Birmingham and Leeds. The Wiz is a co-production between Birmingham Repertory Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse.

In this African-American, soul-inspired, retelling of the classic tale "The Wizard of Oz," a teenage Dorothy wishes for escape from her dull and dreary life in modern day England. Transported to the magical world of Oz Dorothy slowly recognizes that there is more to home than she ever realized.

Treyc Cohen (Dorothy), who is 27 years old, entered "X Factor" in 2010 and was chosen as judge Cheryl Cole's "wild card" act. Having got through to the final 16 performers for the live final, Treyc was eliminated during a sing-off with controversial contestant Katie Waissal.

Clive Rowe (The Lion) won the 1997 Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for the National Theatre's production of Guys and Dolls.  He has played the Dame in Hackney Empire's festive pantomime for a number of years. His many other stage credits include Amos in Chicago (West End) and Company at the Donmar Warehouse. Melanie La Barrie (Aunt Em) last appeared at Birmingham Repertory Theatre in A Christmas Carol and Once On This Island, and at West Yorkshire Playhouse in Blues In The Night. She also recently appeared in the RSC's Matilda.

Horace Oliver (Tinman) has appeared in Five Guys Named Moe (Stratford East). Wayne Robinson (Scarecrow) has appeared in the national tours of We Will Rock You and Hairspray. Allyson Ava-Brown (Glinda/Evilene) won a Mobo Award in 1998 and has appeared in Les Miserables in the West End and also at the RSC in Julius Ceasar, The Tempest and Antony and Cleopatra. Peter Straker (The Wiz) has had many leading roles in the West End, including being original cast member of Hair.

Director Josette Bushell-Mingo is currently artistic director of The Silent Theatre in Stockholm, Sweden. 

The Wiz will be choreographed by Paul J. Medford with musical direction by Warren Wills. The production is designed by Rosa Maggiora, with lighting by Philip Gladwell, sound by Ed Clarke and projection by Mic Pool.

To book tickets for the run at Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre, contact the box office on 0844 871 3011, or visit newalexandratheatre.co.uk. For the run at West Yorkshire Playhouse, contact the box office on 0113 213 7700, or visit wyp.org.uk.

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