Photos: First Look At Wayne Brady In Broadway-Bound THE WIZ

The current coast-to-coast pre-Broadway tour is now in San Francisco and has been a sold-out smash since its premiere in Baltimore in September 2023. 

By: Jan. 18, 2024
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See first look photos of Emmy-winning and Grammy-nominated Wayne Brady as ‘The Wiz’ in the groundbreaking musical set to open on Broadway on Wednesday, April 17, in a limited engagement at the Marquis Theatre (210 West 46th Street) with preview performances to begin on March 29. The current coast-to-coast pre-Broadway tour is now in San Francisco and has been a sold-out smash since its premiere in Baltimore in September 2023. 

This season, The Wiz returned “home” to 13 cities across America on its all-new pre-Broadway tour, the first one in 40 years. The tour began in The Wiz’s original home city of Baltimore in September 2023, where the show made its world premiere 50 years ago. The pre-Broadway tour concludes with engagements at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco—which runs through February 11— and at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles from February 13 - March 3. 

The cast features Wayne Brady as ‘The Wiz,’ Nichelle Lewis as ‘Dorothy,’ Deborah Cox as ‘Glinda’ and Melody A. Betts as ‘Aunt Em’ and ‘Evillene,’ Kyle Ramar Freeman as ‘Lion,’ Phillip Johnson Richardson as ‘Tinman,’ and Avery Wilson as ‘Scarecrow.’ The Wiz ensemble includes Maya Bowles, Shayla Alayre Caldwell, Jay Copeland, Allyson Kaye Daniel, Judith Franklin, Michael Samarie George, Collin Heyward, Amber Jackson, Olivia Jackson, Christina Jones, Polanco Jones, Kolby Kindle, Mariah Lyttle, Kareem Marsh, Alan Mingo, Jr., Anthony Murphy, Cristina Rae, Matthew Sims Jr, Avilon Trust Tate, Keenan D. Washington, and Timothy Wilson.

Featuring a book by William F. Brown and a Tony Award-winning score by Charlie Smalls (and others), director Schele Williams (The Notebook, revival of Disney’s Aida), award-winning choreographer JaQuel Knight (Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” Black is King), additional material by Tony-nominated and Emmy-nominated writer and TV host Amber Ruffin (“The Amber Ruffin Show,” “Late Night With Seth Meyers”), Joseph Joubert (music supervision, orchestrations, & music arrangements), Allen René Louis (vocal arrangements, music arrangements), and Emmy Award®-winning music director and Grammy Award®-winning writer, Adam Blackstone (Dance Music Arranger), and Paul Byssainthe Jr. (Music Director), 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 includes scenic design by Academy Award-winning Hannah Beachler (Black Panther, Beyoncé’s Black is King and Lemonade), costume design by Emmy Award-winning and two-time Academy Award-nominated Sharen Davis (Ray, Dreamgirls), lighting design by Barrymore Award-winning Ryan J. O’Gara (Thoughts of a Colored Man), sound design by Jon Weston (Parade), projection design by Daniel Brodie (Motown the Musical), wig design by Charles LaPointe (MJ the Musical) and make-up design by Kirk Cambridge-Del Pesche (The Piano Lesson).

The production includes ‘Everybody Rejoice’ music and lyrics by Luther Vandross, as well as the ‘Emerald City Ballet’ with music by Timothy Graphenreed.

    

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. Casting by: Tara Rubin Casting. 




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