AP

New version of ‘The Wiz’ to tour and end up on Broadway

Nov 30, 2022, 5:31 PM | Updated: Dec 1, 2022, 8:12 am

NEW YORK (AP) — A new production of “The Wiz” is heading out on a national tour next year before following the yellow brick road to Broadway, with its director hoping the show becomes a “touchstone for a new generation.”

Director Schele Williams tells The Associated Press that it’s a very personal musical for her, creating possibilities in her mind as a girl when she saw it.

“It was the first time I was able to ever imagine myself on Broadway. It was because of ‘The Wiz.'” she said. “I’m really excited to awaken those dreams in other little Black girls like me.”

The tour launches in the fall in Baltimore, home of the 1974 world premiere of the musical. Following its run at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore, the tour will cross the country before it starts its limited engagement on Broadway in spring 2024.

“My goal with this show is for it to be an extraordinary celebration of Black culture, for it to be a touchstone for a new generation in the way that it was for my generation,” said Williams.

The new show will be choreographed by Jaquel Knight and music supervision, orchestrations and music arrangements are by Joseph Joubert.

The show was 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 has such classic songs as “What Would I Do If I Could Feel” and “Ease On Down the Road.”

“I don’t want ‘The Wiz’ to become anything that it’s not. But I am excited for it to become a more timeless score. So we’re going to look at how do we do that while also honoring where it came from and the sound that it originally had,” said Williams.

She will be making her Broadway directorial debut with “The Wiz.” Previously, she was the associate director of “Motown: The Musical,” and re-conceived and directed the recent national tour of the show. She is currently in London directing “Mandela,” a new musical inspired by the life of anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela.

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

The original Broadway production featured Stephanie Mills as Dorothy, Dee Dee Bridgewater as good witch Glinda and Andre De Shields as the Wiz. Mills returned as Dorothy in a 1984 revival.

“I’m mostly excited more than anything that this is going to be a show that my kids are going to enjoy. My daughters are 11 and 12, and this is now going to be their show, and I’m really excited about that,” said Williams.

___

Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

16 hours ago

Image: Members of the Makah Indian tribe paddle away from the rising sun as they head from Neah Bay...

Associated Press

Washington’s Makah Tribe clears major hurdle toward resuming traditional whale hunts

The U.S. granted the Makah Indian Tribe a long-sought waiver that helps clear the way for its first sanctioned whale hunts since 1999.

2 days ago

jerry west...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, a three-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

3 days ago

Photo: Construction vehicles are parked outside of the Station U & O building on Tuesday, June 11, ...

Haleluya Hadero, The Associated Press

Amazon adds $1.4B to affordable housing fund for regions where it has corporate offices

Amazon is adding $1.4B to a fund for building more affordable housing in regions where the company has major corporate offices.

4 days ago

hunter biden...

Randall Chase and the Associated Press

Hunter Biden convicted of all 3 felony charges in federal gun trial

Hunter Biden has been convicted of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018, but no sentencing date was set.

4 days ago

Photo: A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real e...

Associated Press

Bremerton man sentenced for 20 ‘swatting’ calls of false threats in US, Canada

A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real emergency responses, has been sentenced.

5 days ago

New version of ‘The Wiz’ to tour and end up on Broadway