Ford's Theatre Society Announces Cast for THE WIZ

Ford's Theatre Society Announces Cast for THE WIZ

Ford's Theatre Society announced full casting and design team for The Wiz directed by Kent Gash, choreographed by Dell Howlett and withMusic Direction and Orchestration by Darius Smith. The production features Ines Nassara as Dorothy, Hasani Allen as Scarecrow, Kevin McAllister as Tinman,Christopher Michael Richardson as Lion and Jobari Parker-Namdar as The Wiz. The musical plays March 9 to May 12, 2018, at historic Ford's Theatre. The production is recommended for ages eight and older.

In this adaptation of L. Frank Baum's magical novel, Dorothy is whisked away by a tornado to the fanciful land of Oz. There, she and her sidekicks encounter Munchkins, flying monkeys and a power-hungry witch named Evillene who vows to destroy them. Ease on down the road and rediscover this imaginative story celebrating community, courage, heart, brains and friendship.

Winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Score, The Wiz made history by celebrating black culture through its joyful score of soul, gospel, R&B and pop and African-, Creole- and 1970s-inspired costume and set designs.

"The beauty of The Wiz is its message that anything we already are is enough," explains Director Kent Gash. "Dorothy feels restless and stuck at home, but when the tornado comes through it absolutely turns her world upside down and changes her perspective. Dorothy discovers she is smarter, more powerful and more interesting than she ever realized. She comes to understand that how she moves through the world can change lives. That is a valuable lesson for us all to celebrate."

"The Wiz was the first Broadway musical that did not present black people as suffering nor enslaved, nor in extreme poverty and duress. It was, in fact, a groundbreaking celebration of the love within the African-American family, the strength and bonds within our human community, and the creativity in music, dance and visual arts that has been such a defining element of world culture since the dawn of jazz," Gash continues. "The musical was created in ways that celebrate the vernacular of black speech, rhythms, music and expression, the particularity of the black experience and the authority of the cultural voice in all its specificity, which transcends to become universal."

Tickets for The Wiz are now on sale and range from $20-$73. Discounts are available for groups, senior citizens, military personnel and those younger than age 35.

The Wiz is made possible by Lead Sponsor Altria Group and Production Sponsors ConocoPhillips, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Fluor Corporation and United Technologies Corporation. Additional support provided by 2017-2018 season sponsors The Home Depot and Chevron.

THE CAST

Nassara, Allen, McAllister, Robinson and Parker-Namdar are joined in the cast by DeMoya Watson Brown (Tornado), Daryl A. Spiers (Lead Winged Monkey), Monique Midgette (Aunt Em, Addaperle and Evillene), Awa Sel Secka (Glinda) and Jaysen Wright (Uncle Henry, Gatekeeper and Lord High Underling).

The Wiz ensemble members are Jonathan Adriel, Ashley D. Buster, Jade Jones, Da'Von T. Moody, Solomon Parker, Melissa Victor, Tobias Young, Jocelyn E. Isaacand Phil Young. The company also includes dogs Charlie and Rusty as Toto (roles rotate).

THE DESIGNERS

Aunt Em's idyllic Kansas farm flips upside-down to reveal Oz in Jason Sherwood's Scenic Design. Clint Allen's Projection Designs envelop the proscenium and beyond in fantastical elements. Costume Designer Kara Harmon's designs feature bold colors, winged monkeys and fashion styles reminiscent of the Harlem Renaissance and African Kente cloth.

The Ford's Theatre design team for The Wiz also includes Choreographer Dell Howlett, Music Director and Orchestrator Darius Smith, Lighting Designer Rui Rita(Ragtime, A Christmas Carol, The Guard, others), Sound Designer David Budries (Ragtime, Freedom's Song, Spelling Bee, others), Hair and Make-up Design by Dave Bova and J. Jared Janas and Dialects and Voice Director Zach Campion.

Musicians for The Wiz include Darius Smith and Victor Simonson on keyboards; Ben Bokor on piccolo, flute, clarinet and alto saxophone; Kieron Irvine on trumpet; Greg Boyer on Trombone; Herry Kunkel on guitar; Yusef Chisholm on bass and tuba; and Danny Villanueva on percussion.

The production team also includes Production Stage Manager Craig A. Horness and Assistant Stage Manager Taryn Friend.

SPECIAL PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS

There are audio-described performances of The Wiz on March 27, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. and May 12, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. A sign-interpreted performance is April 5, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. A captioned performance is scheduled for April 21, 2018, at 2 p.m.

Free First Preview: March 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Ford's Theatre Partners with TodayTix to give out free tickets for the first performance of each mainstage production in our theatrical season. Six-hundred tickets are available via the TodayTix app, beginning 10:00 a.m. ET on March 2 for the March 9, 7:30 p.m. performance of The Wiz. Visit www.fords.org/free for lottery entry details.

The Wiz Meet and Mingle: April 28 following 7:30 p.m. performance

Following the performance of The Wiz at Ford's Theatre, talk theatre with fellow audience members and members of the cast at nearby restaurant Asia Nine, around the corner on E Street near Ford's Theatre. Event is free. Cash bar available. Performance tickets sold separately at www.fords.org.

The Wiz Under 35 Nights: April 20 and May 12 following the 7:30 p.m. performances

Patrons younger than 35 can purchase discounted tickets to the 7:30 p.m. performance of The Wiz and enjoy a complimentary glass of beer or wine after the show. Hang out with like-minded young arts fans, meet new people and see Ford's Theatre in a brand new light. Tickets may be purchased in advance at www.fords.org. Use promo code UNDER35. You must show ID at the Box Office once arriving at the theatre. Limit of six per person.

Post-Performance Discussion: May 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Following the 7:30 p.m. performance on May 16, Ford's Theatre will hold a discussion. The Wiz performance tickets are sold separately at www.fords.org.

Ford's Theatre Society was founded under the guidance of executive producer Frankie Hewitt, who, during her 35-year tenure, established Ford's as a living, Working Theatre producing performances that highlighted the diversity of the American experience. Since the arrival of Paul R. Tetreault as Director, critics and the theatregoing public have recognized Ford's for the superior quality of its artistic programming. With works from the Tony-nominated "Come From Away" and the nationally acclaimed "Big River" to the world premieres of "Meet John Doe," "The Heavens Are Hung In Black," "Liberty Smith," "Necessary Sacrifices," "The Widow Lincoln" and "The Guard," Ford's Theatre is making its mark on the American theatre landscape. In the past decade, the mission of Ford's Theatre Society expanded to include education as a central pillar. This expansion led to the creation and construction of the Center for Education and Leadership, which opened in February 2012. Currently, under the leadership of Board of Trustees Chairman Eric A. Spiegel, the Society is building Ford's Theatre into a national destination for exploring Lincoln's ideas and leadership principles and finding new ways to bring Lincoln's legacy to life for the 21st-century learner.

For more information on Ford's Theatre and the Ford's Theatre Society, please visit www.fords.org.

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