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Meet Brittney Johnson, soon to be Broadway's first Black Glinda in 'Wicked'

Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Broadway's production of "Wicked" has been changed for the better.

Brittney Johnson, current understudy for Glinda, will assume the role of the good witch beginning next year, the long-running musical announced Tuesday. She'll be the first Black actor to play Glinda full-time in the Broadway show's 18-year history.

"It's an honor," Johnson told People magazine of her recent promotion.

"I only had a few people who I feel like I could look up to when I was starting this journey, and it's still a little surreal for me when people send me messages and write me letters saying that I am the reason why they feel like they can pursue their dream, that I am the person that they are looking up to. It feels like an awesome responsibility and one that I am grateful for," she said.

Johnson will make her official debut as Glinda Feb. 14 at Broadway's Gershwin Theatre opposite Alexandra Billings as Madame Morrible, Michael McCormick as the Wizard, Sam Gravitte as Fiyero, Jordan Barrow as Boq, Mili Diaz as Nessarose, Michael X. Martin as Doctor Dillamond and Lindsay Pearce as Elphaba.

In 2019, Johnson made history as the first actor of color to take the Broadway stage as the bubbly, blond enchantress while understudying the coveted part.

 

"It was like a rock concert," Johnson told People of her first Broadway performance as Glinda, during which she tried to "remain very calm and steady."

Johnson previously appeared in Broadway's "Les Miserables," "Motown," "Sunset Boulevard," "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" and "Kristin Chenoweth: For the Girls."

In a video message Tuesday, Chenoweth — who originated the role of Glinda opposite Idina Menzel's Elphaba on Broadway in 2003 — congratulated Johnson on her groundbreaking achievement.

"I am so proud of you," Chenoweth said. "You'll be handling the wand and crown just as I did and probably better. ... Break a leg, and you know I love you, baby."

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