Deborah Cox and Melody A. Betts Join THE WIZ Cast
The Wiz has found its witches! Award-winning recording artist Deborah Cox will star as Glinda and Melody A. Betts will star as Aunt Em and Evillene, in the all-new production of the groundbreaking, Tony Award-winning hit musical The Wiz, in advance of its highly anticipated national tour this fall and Broadway return in the Spring of 2024. The production was also thrilled to welcome Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker as producers of the musical.
The cast will include previously announced Wayne Brady to lead the production as the Wiz on Broadway in Spring of 2024, San Francisco at the Golden Gate Theatre, and Los Angeles at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. Alan Mingo Jr. will star in the role of the Wiz in the following cities of The Wiz National Tour this fall, kicking off with the tour launch in Baltimore, including Cleveland, OH, Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, PA, Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC, Chicago, IL, Des Moines, IA, Tempe, AZ and San Diego, CA.
The cast will also feature Kyle Ramar Freeman as the Lion, Phillip Johnson Richardson as the Tinman, and Avery Wilson as the Scarecrow, respectively. Richardson and Wilson will be making their Broadway debuts. Additional casting will be announced in the coming weeks.
Featuring a book by William F. Brown and a Tony Award-winning score by Charlie Smalls (and others), director Schele Williams, award-winning choreographer JaQuel Knight, additional material by Tony-nominated and Emmy-nominated writer and TV host Amber Ruffin, Joseph Joubert (music supervision, orchestrations, & music arrangements), Allen René Louis (vocal arrangements, music arrangements), and Derek Dixie (dance music arranger) are conjuring up an Oz unlike anything ever seen before. A dynamite infusion of ballet, jazz, and modern pop will bring a whole new groove to easing on down the road.
The Wiz design team will include scenic design by Academy Award-winning Hannah Beachler, costume design by Emmy Award-winning and two-time Academy Award-nominated Sharen Davis, lighting design by Barrymore Award-winning Ryan J. O’Gara, sound design by Jon Weston and wig design by Academy Award-winning Mia Neal.
The Wiz will launch its national tour in the Fall of 2023 in Baltimore, MD, home of the 1974 world premiere of the musical, September 23-30, 2023. Following its run at the Hippodrome Theatre, the tour will slide into Emerald cities across the country before it begins its limited engagement on Broadway in the Spring 2024.
Based on L. Frank Baum’s children’s book, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, The Wiz takes one of the world’s most enduring (and enduringly white) American fantasies, and transforms it into an all-Black musical extravaganza for the ages.
The Wiz premiered on Broadway in 1975 and became an instant sensation, going on to win seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Ted Ross), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Dee Dee Bridgewater), Best Choreography (George Faison), and in a Broadway first, Best Direction of a Musical and Best Costume Design (Geoffrey Holder). “Ease on Down the Road” became the show’s break-out single, and “Home” has since become a bona fide classic. That original production ran for four years (first at The Majestic Theatre and later at The Broadway Theatre) – and 1,672 performances – on Broadway. A 1978 film adaptation starred Diana Ross, Ted Ross, Mabel King, Richard Pryor and Lena Horne, and marked Quincy Jones’ first collaboration with Michael Jackson.
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