‘The Wiz’ to return to Broadway after 40 years
The classic musical will kick off a tour in the fall of 2023 before hitting NYC for a limited-engagement run the following spring.
Get ready to “Ease On Down the Road” — again! Forty years after its 1984 revival, “The Wiz” is returning to Broadway, with additional material from Amber Ruffin, according to Playbill.
Before returning to Broadway, the acclaimed musical will first tour the U.S. before landing in NYC for a limited engagement. In addition to Ruffin, who recently had her first major theatrical moment for helping write the book for the current Broadway adaptation of the classic film “Some Like It Hot,” the creative team also includes director Schele Williams (“Motown the Musical”) and choreographer Jaquel Knight. The score is by Charlie Smalls and the original book was written by William F. Brown.
“The Wiz,” an adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz,” has become a staple in Black theater and American musical theater at large, with its all-Black cast (originally led by Stephanie Mills) breaking down major boundaries on the Great White Way back in 1974. The production went on to win seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, and garnered a 1978 film adaptation starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Lena Horne and Richard Pryor.
“I wouldn’t be on Broadway if it wasn’t for ‘The Wiz’…the music, the costumes, the choreography, and Stephanie Mills!,” Williams shared in a statement obtained by Playbill. “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.”
“It is a dream come true to be a part of what I consider the epitome of Black excellence,” Knight also shared in his statement. “There’s not one piece of art that has had [an] 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, and attitude. I’m honored to stand on the backs of those greats who’ve opened this door, such as Louis Johnson and George Faison; and I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to help show kids who look like me that the Theatre is a world where they can see themselves.”
The tour is set to kick off in the fall of 2023, while the Broadway opening is set for spring 2024.
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