Some of the biggest names in black popular music are following the yellow brick road of The Wiz in its national tour, which may be eyeing a New York stop. The show's current home will be Minneapolis' State Theatre, previewing tonight, May 27, and opening tomorrow, May 28, for a run through June 1.
Starring in the Minneapolis production are Peabo Bryson (The Wiz), Grace Jones (the Wicked Witch, Evilene), and Cece Peniston (the Good Witch), alongside Tasha Scott (Dorothy), Tony Terry (Tinman), Kameko Hebron (Scarecrow), Martin Paulk (Uncle Henry) and Romenda Benjamin (Auntie Em).
With a book by William F. Brown and music & lyrics by Charlie Smalls, this gospel, r&b, disco and soul-inflected musical adaptation of Frank Baum's The Wizard Of Oz became a Tony-winning Broadway hit in 1975. Since then the show was made into a movie starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, and Stephanie Mills starred in a brief New York revival in the early 1990s. Songs include "Ease On Down The Road," "Funky Monkeys," and "Y'All Got It." The show, produced by Barry Singer, is not to be confused with the current musical adaptation of The Wizard Of Oz film, starring Roseanne at NY's Madison Square Garden.
For tickets to the Minnesota stop ($34.50-$24.50, children half-price with adult purchase) and information call (612) 339-7007.
Here are the upcoming tour dates:
June 3: Powers Auditorium; Youngstown, OH
June 4: Memorial Hall; Dayton, OH
June 5-6: Palace Theatre; Columbus, OH
June 7-8: Riverside Theatre; Milwaukee, WI
June 11-15: Paramount Theatre; Oakland, CA
June 18-22: Masonic Temple; Detroit, MI
June 24-29: Byrum Theatre; Pittsburgh, PA
--By David Lefkowitz