Black women creatives enlisted for ‘The Wiz’ stage revival

Oscar-winning production designer Hannah Beachler and Oscar-winning hairstylist Mia Neal are among the Black female crew hired for the production.

“The Wiz” is making its way back to Broadway and several Black women creatives are involved behind the scenes.

Schele Williams will direct the revival; Hannah Beachler will handle production design; Sharen Davis was enlisted for costume design, and Mia Neal will oversee wig design, according to Deadline. This news comes after Playbill announced that Amber Ruffin will contribute new material to the book.

Williams is best known for directing a musical adaptation of “The Notebook” and the Broadway revival of “Aida.” In 2018, Beachler won a production design Oscar for Marvel’s “Black Panther,” becoming the first African American to win in that category. She also did production design work on “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

Hannah Beachler
Production designer Hannah Beachler attends the “91st Annual Academy Awards” on Feb. 24, 2019, at Hollywood and Highland in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Neal — with collaborator Jamika Wilson — won the Oscar in 2021 in the Best Makeup and Hairstyling category for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” It was a first for a Black nominee in that category. Davis has an award-winning pedigree as well. She won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Fantasy-Sci-Fi Costumes in 2020 for her work on the HBO series, “The Watchmen.” She’s received Oscar nominations for “Dreamgirls” and “Ray.”

The stage revival of “The Wiz” will begin with a national tour leading up to its return next year to Broadway. The tour begins this fall in Baltimore, which is where the original 1974 production premiered.

The Broadway production of the iconic musical starred Stephanie Mills. William F. Brown wrote the book and Charlie Smalls wrote the score. This Black reimagining of “The Wizard of Oz” became a huge hit, winning seven Tony Awards in 1975, including Best Musical and Best Original Score. The 1978 film version starred Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Richard Pryor and Lena Horne.

Casting for “The Wiz” has yet to be announced.

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