The eagerly anticipated revival of “The Wiz” will hit Broadway’s Marquis Theatre on April 17.
Producers announced Monday that the latest production of the iconic musical — described as an “entirely reimagined revival” — will begin preview performances on March 29 at the Nederlander Group-operated theater, the recent home of the Britney Spears-inspired musical “Once Upon a One More Time.”
Adapted in 1975 by William F. Brown as a Black version of L. Frank Baum’s classic story “The Wizard of Oz,” the acclaimed musical went on to “ease on down” Broadway history with eight Tony Award nominations and seven wins, including the coveted best musical prize.
The new production — starring Nichelle Lewis, Melody A. Betts, Kyle Ramar Freeman, Phillip Johnson Richardson, Avery Wilson and R&B music powerhouse Deborah Cox — kicked off a multi-city national tour at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre on Sunday night. According to a rep for the show, the cast received five standing ovations during the curtain call.
Five-time Emmy Award-nominee Amber Ruffin created additional material for the revival that includes elements from the beloved 1978 big screen adaptation starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Ted Ross, Nipsey Russell, Lena Horne and Richard Pryor. Ruffin, of “Late Night with Seth Meyers” fame, also co-wrote the current Broadway smash musical “Some Like It Hot.”
“The Wiz” is helmed by Schele Williams and choreographed by JaQuel Knight. Academy Award-winning “Black Panther” production designer Hannah Beachler has been tapped for the scenic design, while “Dreamgirls” costume designer Sharen Davis oversees the wardrobe.
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