Wed. May 29th, 2024

‘THE WIZ’ 2024 Broadway Cast Recording Is Coming This Summer

By Michael Apr 26, 2024

This year, Wicked isn’t the only Wizard of Oz-inspired musical that’s eliciting standing ovations on Broadway. A new revival of THE WIZ at the Marquis Theatre in Manhattan has been playing to sold-out crowds since its official opening night on April 17. And on July 12, the 2024 Broadway cast recording of this version of THE WIZ will come out on Immersive/Interscope Recordings, Billboard can reveal.

Starring Emmy winner Wayne Brady as The Wiz, Nichelle Lewis as Dorothy and Deborah Cox as Glinda, this update of the 1975 Broadway musical (which was conceived as an adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz through the lens of Black culture in America) is directed by Schele Williams and features choreography by JaQuel Knight, a previous Billboard cover star who worked on Beyoncé’s iconic “Single Lades (Put a Ring On It)” video.

The latest staged version of the soul, gospel and funk-fueled musical brings elements of ballet, contemporary popular music and jazz to the proceedings. Rounding out the cast of beloved characters are Melody A. Betts as Aunt Em and the villainous Evillene, Kyle Ramar Freeman as the Cowardly Lion, Phillip Johnson Richardson as the Tin Man and Avery Wilson as the Scarecrow. The producers of this version of THE WIZ are Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson, Brian Anthony Moreland, Ambassador Theatre Group, Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker.

In addition to becoming a perennial stage classic, The Wiz was adapted into a movie in 1978 starring Diana Ross as Dorothy and a young Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow. The Sidney Lumet-directed film received mixed reviews and was a commercial failure, though it’s grown in stature over the years and is now regarded as a cult and family classic. In 2015, NBC’s The Wiz Live! starring Queen Latifah, Ne-Yo and Amber Riley pulled in a whopping 11.5 million viewers.

When Ross brought her The Music Legacy Tour to New York City’s Radio City Music Hall last summer, she trotted out not one but two songs from The Wiz, “Home” and “Ease on Down the Road,” speaking to the musical’s staying power over the decades.

By Michael

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