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Kenya Barris' Modern Remake Of THE WIZARD OF OZ To Feature LGBTQ+ Representation And More

Barris' re-imagining of the classic musical will feature a culturally diverse cast, and address modern themes including race, class, gender, and sexuality.

As BroadwayWorld previously reported, Black-ish creator Kenya Barris will write and direct a re-imagined version of the Wizard of Oz.

Though details for the project remain scarce, according to a new report from Variety, Barris' re-imagining of the classic musical will feature a culturally diverse cast, and address modern themes including race, class, gender, and sexuality.

Barris said, "The original was an allegory and a reflection of the way the world was at the time with things like the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl...Now we're going to turn a mirror on where we're at right now and take disparate characters from the LGBTQ community, from different cultural communities and socioeconomic communities, and tell a story that reflects the world. I think this is the best time to do that."

As for taking on one of the most iconic films in history, Barris told Variety, ""I'm nervous. Hopefully, my movie can last as long as the original does."

Barris is most known as the creator of the popular television series Black-ish. He is currently in post-production for his film directorial debut, You People. Co-written with Jonah Hill, the new film stars Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Lauren London, Nia Long, David Duchovny, and more.

Barris revealed in 2020 that he wrote a full-length musical on the significance of Juneteenth with Pharell Williams. Williams will produce the new project for Netflix.

Barris is also attached to an upcoming film remake of White Men Can't Jump and an animated movie that was inspired by the musical work of Bob Marley.

The 1939 musical film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz is considered one of the best films ever made. Featuring songs like "Over the Rainbow," "We're Off to See the Wizard," "If I Only Had a Brain," and "Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead," the lauded adaptation was nominated for six Academy Awards and won two (up against another cinematic classic, "Gone With The Wind").

A stage musical based on the film premiered on the West End in 2011, with a book adapted by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jeremy Sams. The musical toured the U.S. in 2013.

Another adaptation of L. Frank Baum's work, the novel "Wicked" by Gregory Maguire, was adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman into one of the most successful Broadway musicals in history. It opened in 2003, starring Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth.

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