Ashanti Will "Ease On Down the Road" in The Wiz for Encores! Summer Stars

News   Ashanti Will "Ease On Down the Road" in The Wiz for Encores! Summer Stars
Grammy-winning R&B artist Ashanti will star as Dorothy in the Encores! Summer Stars production of the Charlie Smalls-William F. Brown musical The Wiz at New York City Center.

The summer production will mark the stage debut for Ashanti who has appeared on screen in "American Dreams" as Dionne Warwick, as well as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Coach Carter," "Resident Evil Extinction," "John Tucker Must Die" and "Bride & Prejudice." The Grammy winner got her first taste of a theatrical Oz when she led a performance of Stephen Schwartz's "Defying Gravity" from Wicked as part of the The Yellow Brick Road Not Taken concert on Broadway last fall. She previously appeared as Dorothy in ABC's "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz," a television special in 2005.

Tony-nominated In the Heights director Thomas Kail and his Tony-winning collaborators, Andy Blankenbuehler (choreographer) and Alex Lacamoire (musical director), will stage the Encores! Summer Stars production of The Wiz June 12-July 5. The production officially opens June 18.

The Wiz will have scenic design by David Korins, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting by Ken Billington and sound by ACME Sound Partners.

Ashanti in "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz"
photo © ABC, Inc.

Complete casting for The Wiz 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" that 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.

For tickets, phone (212) 581-1212, or visit CityCenter. City Center is located at West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.

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