Entertainment News | TV & Film
Ease on down! The iconic musical “The Wiz” has announced its cast for the upcoming Broadway-bound revival tour of the show, with two of the stage plays' characters being openly queer.
The trio of actors includes "The Voice" alum Avery Wilson as The Scarecrow, "A Strange Loop" star Kyle Ramar Freeman as the Lion, and Apple+ "Sharper" star Phillip Johnson Richardson as the Tinman.
In a video posted to the official Wiz Musical account, Freeman called his casting “full circle”.
“The Wizard of Oz” was actually first the first production I was ever a part of as a kid and I got to play the Lion.”
Avery Wilson celebrated the casting announcement via Instagram: "Cats out the bag! Im very grateful & honored to be a part of the history of the iconic wiz!!!!”
Richardson also celebrated via Instagram, posting an image of the casting announcement and captioning it “Lemme hold some oil rq :) @thewizbway
Last month Kandi Burrus-Tucker and Todd Tucker joined the project as producers, joining director Schele Williams and choreographer JaQuel Knight. Additional material for the production is set to be provided by Emmy-nominated writer and TV host Amber Ruffin.
Joseph Joubert is being tapped to provide the production's music supervision, orchestrations, and arrangements. Joubert will be joined by Allen René Louis who is set to provide vocal and musical arrangements.
Based on L. Frank Baum’s 1900 book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Wiz turns the classic tale into an all-black led musical. The original adaptation of The Wiz first premiered on Broadway in 1975 and went on to win a total of 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), Best Direction of a Musical (Geoffrey Holder), and Best Costume Design (Geoffrey Holder).
In 1978 the Sidney Lumet directed film adaptation of “The Wiz” was released with Micheal Jackson, Diana Ross, Ted Ross, Mabel King, Richard Pryor and Lena Horne starring in prominent roles.
The 2023 version of the production is slated to tour in the fall, with Baltimore, Maryland, home of the musical’s 1974 world premiere being its first official tour stop. Following the tour, the production is set to go on to a limited Broadway run in spring 2024, an official venue for the 2024 production has yet to be announced. Casting for additional roles is set to be announced in the coming weeks.