The beloved musical The Wiz will return to Broadway next season in an “entirely reimagined revival” directed by Schele Williams and featuring additional material by Amber Ruffin.
The production will launch a national tour in the Fall of 2023 in Baltimore, where the original musical premiered in 1974, and will play in cities across the country before beginning a limited engagement on Broadway in Spring 2024.
The revival was announced today by producers Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson, Brian Anthony Moreland, and Ambassador Theatre Group. Featuring a book by William F. Brown and a Tony Award-winning score by Charlie Smalls (and others) – among its best-known songs is “Ease On Down The Road” – the new production will be choreographed by Jaquel Knight with music supervision, orchestrations, and music arrangements by Joseph Joubert.
Director Williams, who will make her Broadway debut with the show – she’s also directing the upcoming revival of Disney’s Aida – said in a statement, “I wouldn’t be on Broadway if it wasn’t for The Wiz…the music, the costumes, the choreography and Stephanie Mills! Seeing that show changed my life. It is, in every way, a celebration of Black excellence. I am honored to helm this production and I can’t think of a better time to tell this story.”
Stephanie Mills starred in the original production of the musical. No word on casting yet for the upcoming revival.
“It is a dream come true to be a part of what I consider the epitome of Black excellence,” said choreographer Knight. “There’s not one piece of art that has had influence on popular culture like The Wiz. I’m humbled to not only have the opportunity to leave my own mark on a true work of art, but to continue the storytelling and legacy building on the beauty of blackness through dance, movement & attitude. I’m honored to stand on the backs of those greats who’ve opened this door, such as the Louis Johnson and George Faison; and I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to help show kids who look like me that the Theater is a world where they can see themselves.”
Michael Smalls, the son of composer Charlie Smalls, said, “I am thrilled my father’s music and The Wiz is returning to Broadway. I am so happy to know a new generation will be discovering these wonderful songs and learn of my father’s extraordinary talent.”
The Wiz premiered on Broadway in 1975 and went 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). That production ran for four years, and 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.
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