An all-new production of The Wiz will play a national tour before easing on down the road to Broadway.
Ambassador Theatre Group and producers Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson and Brian Anthony Moreland announced a brand-new production of The Wiz will launch a national tour, fall 2023. The musical will then head to Broadway for a limited engagement in the spring of 2024 — which marks The Wiz’s 50th Anniversary. It opened on October 21, 1974, at the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore before moving to Broadway’s Majestic Theatre with a new cast on January 5, 1975.
The Wiz is adapted from L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s novel The Wizard of Oz — it transformed Baum’s classic children’s novel into an all-Black “super soul musical.”
Schele Williams is directing this latest version of The Wiz which “takes one of the world’s most enduring (and enduringly white) American fantasies, and transforms it into an all-Black musical extravaganza for the ages.”
“I wouldn’t be on Broadway if it wasn’t for The Wiz…the music, the costumes, the choreography and Stephanie Mills, seeing that show changed my life,” Williams said in a statement to PEOPLE. “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.”
The Wiz’s revival will be adapted from L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz with a score by Charlie Smalls and a book by William F. Brown. Jaquel Knight is handling choreography and in a statement said, The Wiz is “the epitome of Black excellence. There’s not one piece of art that has had influence on popular culture like The Wiz’ — he is also “humbled” to “continue the storytelling and legacy building on the beauty of blackness through dance, movement, & attitude.”
Amber Ruffin is also on the creative team and will provide additional material. And Joseph Joubert is on-board to do the musical arrangements, music supervision and orchestrations.
The Wiz’s national tour will start where the original debuted 50 years prior in Baltimore. After Baltimore it will travel throughout the country before settling in NYC on Broadway for its limited engagement.
The Wiz, inspired by L. Frank Baum’s children’s book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” had an all-Black cast, and premiered on Broadway in 1975. Geoffrey Holder directed the show which made stars out of Stephanie Mills, Dee Dee Bridgewater and André De Shields.
The Wiz received seven Tonys, including best musical and had a four year Broadway as well as was adapted into a feature film. The 1978 film starred Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Ted Ross, Mabel King, Richard Pryor and Lena Horne. In 2015, NBC produced a version of the musical as a live television special.
Casting, dates and a theatre will be announced at a later date. Tara Rubin Casting is handling casting with Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson, Brian Anthony Moreland, and Ambassador Theatre Group are producing.