New version of 'The Wiz' will be led by Wayne Brady and Alan Mingo Jr. sharing the title role

Streaming HUBJune 7, 2023

NEW YORK (AP) – Two men who stepped into 6-inch heels for “Kinky Boots” on Broadway will play the title characters behind the scenes when “The Wiz” tours the US and lands on Broadway in 2024 – Wayne Brady and Alan Mingo Jr.

“Me and Wayne go back to where we were friends in Los Angeles as actors,” says Minho. “So what better way to share a gig with your friends?” Adds Brady: “It’s a dream. It’s really a dream.”

Brady will star as Wiz in San Francisco from Jan. 16-Feb. February 11 at the Golden Gate Theatre, and in Los Angeles from February 13 to March 3, before hitting Broadway in Spring 2024.

With a launch in Baltimore and will play Mingo Wiz in the remaining cities of the national tour, including Cleveland; Washington DC; Pittsburgh; Charlotte, North Carolina; Atlanta; Greenville, South Carolina; Chicago; Des Moines, Iowa; Tempe, Arizona and San Diego.

Both actors were last seen on Broadway playing Lola in “Kinky Boots”. Brady assigned the role to Mingo and “now I’ll hit the road and then pass the baton to him,” says Mingo.

“The Wiz” was one of two shows a young Brady always dreamed of performing on one day. “I’ve always wanted to be in ‘The Wiz.’ I’ve always wanted to be in ‘Dreamgirls.’ Those were two classics that, as a kid, were like the North Star of theater. It was like, ‘Hey, if You can be on one of these shows, so that means you’ve made it.’

The cast will also include Kyle Ramer Freeman as the Lion, Philip Johnson Richardson as the Tin Man, and Avery Wilson as the Scarecrow. Shelley Williams will direct, saying she hopes the show will become “a touchstone for a new generation”.

The show is adapted from “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum, with a book by William F. Brown and music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls.

“The Wiz” opened on Broadway in 1975 and won seven Tonys, including Best Musical. It contains classic songs such as “What Would I Do If I Could Feel” and “Easy on Down the Road”.

The 1978 movie version of “The Wiz” starred Diana Ross, Lena Horne, and Richard Pryor as the Wiz. Michael Jackson co-starred as the Scarecrow, Nipsey Russell as the Tin Man and Ted Ross as the Lion. NBC aired a live version in 2015 with Queen Latifah, Ne-Yo and David Alan Grier.

Both Brady and Mingo say the show — featuring Black actors front and center — has a new resonance as it hits the road in the coming months.

“I think about all these people of color on this stage telling the story of a young woman who is lost and looking for something. She is underprivileged and she meets three other young people who are also looking for something. And he’s not getting answers from the bigwigs around him as the world is in chaos. He needs to step up to the plate and find his way back – of course the time has come.

Mingo, who was in the original run of “Rent” and “The Little Mermaid”, said that “The Wiz” was instrumental in inspiring his career.

“It inspired me to get into this business,” he says. “I love sharing my art with a new group of audiences. Hopefully they will make wonderful mentors, if not turn to the arts themselves.

The original Broadway production featured Stephanie Mills as Dorothy, Dee Dee Bridgewater as Good Witch Glinda, and Andre De Shields as The Wiz.

Brady, who wrote “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” won a Primetime Emmy Award for. says he would place his mentor somewhere between Pryor and De Shields.

“I already know I have two places for inspiration that I can draw inspiration from. I loved Richard’s dark turn and I loved Andre’s star turn and his panache and all the splendor,” he says. “So I guess somewhere in the middle I’ll have my boy. I think I can bring a certain charm and lightness to it.


Mark Kennedy is in

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