A Wicked Switch: Wizards Vereen and Weygandt to Change Cities

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22 Aug 2005

Ben Vereen in <I>Wicked</I>
Ben Vereen in Wicked
Joan Marcus

For one week only, Wicked audiences in Chicago will get the chance to enjoy the Wizard-ly performance of Ben Vereen, while Broadway audiences will have the opportunity to see the Wizard of Gene Weygandt.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the two Wicked stars will switch cities beginning Aug. 30. The paper says Vereen has wanted to spend more time with his Chicago-based family. He will play the Wizard in the Chicago production of Wicked — which plays the Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre — through Sept. 4. Weygant, who currently plays that role in Chicago, will play the Wizard in the New York production at the Gershwin Theatre.

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."

Gene Weygandt created the role of Paul in Broadway's Big. A three time Joseph Jefferson Award winner, his other theatrical credits include Inspecting Carol, Lend Me a Tenor, Little Shop of Horrors, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, Arthur: The Musical, Me and My Girl and Phantom of the Country Place. His screen credits include "Murphy Brown," "Home Improvement," "Cybill," "Drew Carey," "Ellen," "Coach" and "Thunder Alley."

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.



Chicago's Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre is located at 24 West Randolph Street. Tickets for Wicked are available at all Broadway in Chicago box offices (22 W. Monroe Street, 24 W. Randolph Street and 151 West Randolph Street) or by calling (312) 902-1400.

For more information about Wicked visit www.wickedthemusical.com.