The Broadway-bound revival of The Wiz has found a theatre and set dates, with previews beginning March 29, 2024 at the Marquis Theatre ahead of an April 17 opening night. Schele Williams directs the new production of the 1975 musical, which launched a national tour from Baltimore's Hippodrome September 23. Get a first look at the new production above.
The touring cast will continue with the production to Broadway, including Nichelle Lewis as Dorothy, Deborah Cox as Glinda and Melody A. Betts as Aunt Em and Evillene, Kyle Ramar Freeman as the Lion, Phillip Johnson Richardson as the Tinman, and Avery Wilson as the Scarecrow. As previously announced, Wayne Brady will play the title role on the Main Stem, with Alan Mingo Jr. in the role for much of the pre-Broadway tour.
See the company's first curtain call from Baltimore:
The ensemble includes Maya Bowles, Shayla Alayre Caldwell, Jay Copeland, Allyson Kaye Daniel, Judith Franklin, Michael Samarie George, Collin Heyward, Amber Jackson,Olivia Jackson, Christina Jones, Polanco Jones, Kolby Kindle, Mariah Lyttle, Kareem Marsh, Anthony Murphy, Cristina Rae, Matthew Sims Jr, Avilon Trust Tate, Keenan D. Washington, and Timothy Wilson.
The production also features an A-list group of producers, led by Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson, Brian Anthony Moreland, and Ambassador Theatre Group while also including Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker, Common, MC Lyte, Deborah Cox, and Lascelles Stephens.
Williams is leading a creative team that also includes 2023 Tony Award nominee Amber Ruffin, who has penned additional material. The gig is Ruffin's second theatrical outing, following her work co-writing the Tony-nominated book to Broadway's current Some Like It Hot with Matthew López. Joseph Joubert is providing music supervision, orchestrations, and arrangements, with dance arrangements by Adam Blackstone, scenic design by Hannah Beachler, costume design by Sharen Davis, lighting design by Ryan J. O'Gara, projection design by Daniel Brodie, sound design by Jon Weston, and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe. Casting is by Tara Rubin Casting.
See the cast sing "Everybody Rejoice" at the first orchestra rehearsal below:
The Wiz premiered on Broadway in 1975, transforming L. Frank Baum's classic children's novel into an all-Black "super soul musical," as it was originally billed. A surprise hit of the season, the musical won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Score, Featured Actor in a Musical (Ted Ross), Featured Actress in a Musical (Dee Dee Bridgewater), Choreography (George Faison), and Direction of a Musical and Costume Design (both Geoffrey Holder). The score's "Ease On Down the Road" and "Home" became breakout hits, and original star Stephanie Mills was propelled into stardom. The musical made the jump to the big screen in 1978 with a film adaptation starring Diana Ross, Lena Horne, Richard Pryor, Michael Jackson, and, reprising his Broadway performance as the Cowardly Lion, Ross.
The musical got the live TV treatment via NBC in 2015, a production that was initially announced as being Broadway bound following the television premiere. That revival, which would have been produced by Neil Meron and the late Craig Zadan, never materialized.
Also producing are Elizabeth Armstrong, James L. Nederlander, Hudson/Mann, Cody Lassen/Matthew D’Arrigo, Independent Presenters Network, Amanda DuBois Productions/Ari Edelson, Dori Berinstein, Spencer Ross/Stephanie Cowan, Terry Schnuck/Gabrielle Palitz, Pippa Lambert/Alissa Norby, Gina Vernaci, Patty Baker, Marlene & Gary Cohen, Concord Theatricals, The Fabulous Invalid, Fakston Productions, Brian & Nick Ginsberg, Gabrielle Glore, Grove Entertainment, Haffner-Wright Theatricals, House Woods Productions, John Gore Organization, Kawana Entertainment, Willette Klausner, MMC Productions, Lamar Richardson, Runyonland Productions, Erica Lynn Schwartz, The Shubert Organization, Lu-Shawn Thompson, Lana Williams-Woods, The Araca Group, Blakeman-Robinson Entm’t/Ricardo Marques, Robert Tichio/Score 3, Best Yet Entertainment/Branden Grimmett, Dkim Caldwell/Mickalene Thomas, DMQR Productions, Jason Turchin, Epic Theatricals/Jeffrey Grove, Joel Glassman/Westin Hicks, Jamrock Productions/Sonya Houston, Sally Johnston/Ann Scott, Judith Manocherian/Theatre Nerd Productions, and Alan Seales/Gonzalez-Leiba Jr.
For a touring itinerary, visit WizMusical.com.