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Colman Domingo To Join Encores! Summer Stars' THE WIZ On 6/29; Replaces Orlando Jones

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Colman Domingo will replace Orlando Jones in the title role of The Wiz for the final six performances, June 29 - July 5 at New York City Center. Mr. Jones is leaving the show early in order to shoot his new series "Crash Course" for ABC-TV. The Encores! Summer Stars production of The Wiz stars Ashanti, LaChanze, Joshua Henry, James Monroe Iglehart, Christian Dante White, Tichina Arnold and Dawnn Lewis.

Colman Domingo portrayed several roles, from the closeted church choir director to an aggressive Berlin performance artist, in the Tony Award-winning musical Passing Strange and will reprise those roles in the upcoming Spike Lee film. He recently starred in Athol Fugard's world premiere of Coming Home at Long Wharf Theater, and appeared in the Broadway company of Lisa Kron's Well. He will star in his new A Boy and His Soul, at The Vineyard Theatre in September. Domingo is a regular on LOGO's "Big Gay Sketch Show," spoofing personalities from Maya Angelou to Oprah Winfrey. Domingo is also directed the Off-Broadway engagement of Single Black Female.

The Wiz, the 1974 rock and soul musical based on the beloved L. Frank Baum story about Dorothy and her adventures in Oz, will be directed by Thomas Kail and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler, with music direction by Alex Lacamoire, (the team responsible for the Tony-winning In the Heights).

The Wiz has a book by William F. Brown, music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls and orchestrations by Harold Wheeler. The original production was directed by Geoffrey Holder and choreographed by George Faison. It won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Choreography.

In addition to Ashanti, Joshua Henry, James Monroe Iglehart, Christian Dante White, Tichina Arnold, Dawnn Lewis, Coleman Domingo and LaChanze, the cast includes Raymond Lamar Bennett, Tanya Birl, Darlesia Cearcy, Asmeret Ghebremichael, Angela Grovey, Ebony Haswell, Lauren Lim Jackson, Kevin-Anthony, Carl Lation, Jennifer Locke, Amy McClendon, Kenna Michelle Morris, John Eric Parker, Herman Payne, Ryan Rankine, Levensky Smith, Ephraim Sykes, Adrienne Warren, Daniel J. Watts, Juson Williams and William B. Wingfield.

Ashanti (Dorothy) burst onto the music scene with her 2002 self-titled debut album, Ashanti. The album landed at the #1 spot on both the Billboard Top 200 and R&B Album charts and won the Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Album. Simultaneously, Ashanti also secured the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart and the R&B/Hip Hop Singles & Tracks chart with her song, "Foolish." She made Billboard history by having her first three chart entries land in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time, becoming the first woman to accomplish this feat (which was previously attained only by the Beatles). Her follow-up album, Chapter II, debuted in the # 1 slot on the Billboard Album Chart and spawned two Top-10 singles. Ashanti's other albums include Ashanti's Christmas; Concrete Rose; a remix album titled Collectibles by Ashanti and The Declaration.

Ashanti's film credits include Coach Carter, Resident Evil Extinction, John Tucker Must Die and Bride & Prejudice. Her television credits include "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz," "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch," and "American Dreams," in which she portrayed Dionne Warwick. Her first book of poetry is titled Foolish/Unfoolish: Reflections on Love.

The Wiz is made possible, in part, by Roz and Jerry Meyer, Ruthe and Tony Ponturo and the Stephanie and Fred Shuman Fund for Encores!

Encores! Summer Stars, (Jack Viertel, Artistic Director) now in its third season, is an expanded version of City Center's acclaimed Encores! series. Summer Stars is dedicated to presenting Broadway classics in limited-run productions. The previous Encores! Summer Stars presentations were the critically-acclaimed productions of Gypsy starring Patti LuPone and Damn Yankees starring Sean Hayes and Jane Krakowski.

New York City Center (Arlene Shuler, President and CEO) has long been known and beloved by New York audiences not only as one of the City's preeminent performing arts institutions but also as an accessible and welcoming venue for dance and theater. New York City Center produces the Tony-honored Encores! musical theater series, and is home to some of the country's leading dance companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Paul Taylor Dance Company and Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company, as well as Manhattan Theatre Club, one of New York's leading theater companies. In 2004 New York City Center launched the acclaimed Fall for Dance Festival, continuing to fulfill its mission to make the arts accessible to the broadest possible audience. In 2006, New York City Center formed partnerships with London's Sadler's Wells Theatre to facilitate the exchange of innovative dance works, and with Carnegie Hall to work together on exciting new programming initiatives between the two neighboring institutions.

The Wiz will run June 12 - July 5.Tickets range from $25 - $110 and are available at the New York City Center Box Office (West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues), through CityTix(r) at 212-581-1212, or online at www.nycitycenter.org.

THE WIZ PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE: Monday and Tuesday evenings at 7:00 pm; Wednesday - Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm (note: Opening night, June 18 curtain is at 6:30pm; No performances on July 3 and 4); and Wednesday matinees at 2:00 pm. There will be Saturday matinees on June 20 and 27. Closing performance is on Sunday, July 5 at 7:00 pm.

 


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