Producers Announce Wayne Brady and Alan Mingo Jr. as Leads in the Groundbreaking Musical "The Wiz" - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Producers Announce Wayne Brady and Alan Mingo Jr. as Leads in the Groundbreaking Musical "The Wiz"

Producers Announce Wayne Brady and Alan Mingo Jr. as Leads in the Groundbreaking Musical "The Wiz"

Producers Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson, Brian Anthony Moreland, and Ambassador Theatre Group are thrilled to unveil the exciting casting news for the highly anticipated revival of "The Wiz." Five-time Emmy winner and Grammy Award nominee Wayne Brady, renowned for his roles in "Hamilton" and "Whose Line Is it Anyway?," will take on the iconic role of the Wiz. 

Joining him is Alan Mingo Jr., known for his impressive performance in "Kinky Boots" and as a cast member of "Doom Patrol," who will also portray the Wiz in select cities during the national tour. The all-new production of the Tony Award-winning hit musical promises to captivate audiences with its fresh take on the beloved story.

The announcement also includes the addition of Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker as producers of the musical, further elevating the project's creative team. The production is set to debut on Broadway in the spring of 2024, with subsequent engagements scheduled in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Mingo Jr. will headline the Wiz's role in various cities during the national tour, which commences this fall and covers major locations such as Baltimore, Cleveland, Washington, DC, and Chicago, among others.

Alongside Brady and Mingo Jr., the cast will feature Kyle Ramar Freeman as the Lion, Phillip Johnson Richardson as the Tinman, and Avery Wilson as the Scarecrow. Freeman, Richardson, and Wilson, the latter known for his participation in "The Voice," will make their Broadway debuts with this production. Stay tuned for additional casting announcements in the coming weeks.

"The Wiz" brings together a talented creative team to reimagine this timeless story. With a book by William F. Brown and a Tony Award-winning score by Charlie Smalls, the musical will be directed by Schele Williams, known for her work on "The Notebook" and the revival of Disney's "Aida." Award-winning choreographer JaQuel Knight, renowned for Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" and "Black is King," will infuse the production with an electrifying blend of ballet, jazz, and modern pop, offering a fresh twist to the classic tale. The show will also feature additional material by Tony and Emmy-nominated writer Amber Ruffin, Joseph Joubert overseeing music supervision and orchestrations, and Allen René Louis and Derek Dixie handling vocal and dance music arrangements, respectively.

The production's design team includes scenic design by Academy Award-winning Hannah Beachler, costume design by Emmy Award-winning Sharen Davis, lighting design by Barrymore Award-winning Ryan J. O'Gara, sound design by Jon Weston, and wig design by Academy Award-winning Mia Neal. This collaboration of creative talents is set to bring a visually stunning and immersive Oz to life.

"The Wiz" will embark on its national tour in the fall of 2023, starting in Baltimore, where the musical premiered in 1974. Following various stops across the country, the tour will culminate with a limited engagement on Broadway in spring 2024.

Tickets are currently available as part of season subscription packages and group sales in each tour city. For more information on tour cities, venues, performance schedules, and single-ticket on-sale dates, visit the official website at 

Based on L. Frank Baum's beloved children's book, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," "The Wiz" has remained a timeless American fantasy. This groundbreaking musical adaptation, however, reimagines the story as an all-Black extravaganza that has captivated audiences since its premiere on Broadway in 1975. The original production of "The Wiz" was a sensation, receiving seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Score. It made history by being the first Broadway production to win awards for Best Direction of a Musical and Best Costume Design, thanks to the visionary work of Geoffrey Holder.

The show's breakout hit, "Ease on Down the Road," became an iconic single, while the heartfelt ballad "Home" has solidified its place as a classic. In 1978, "The Wiz" was adapted into a film starring Diana Ross, Ted Ross, Mabel King, Richard Pryor, and Lena Horne, further cementing its cultural impact. The film also marked the beginning of Quincy Jones' collaboration with Michael Jackson.

The cast of the upcoming production is a powerhouse ensemble. Wayne Brady, a multi-talented performer, and multiple Emmy Award winner, brings his exceptional skills to the role of the Wiz. Brady's versatile career spans television, theater, and music, and he has made notable appearances on shows such as "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" and "The Masked Singer." Joining him is Alan Mingo Jr., whose award-winning portrayal of "Lola" in "Kinky Boots" garnered critical acclaim. Mingo Jr. has also showcased his talent on screen, including his role in DC's "Doom Patrol."

"The Wiz" is not only a revival of a beloved musical; it also represents a commitment to diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry. By reimagining a classic tale with an all-African-American cast and creative team, this production aims to bring a fresh perspective and create an unforgettable experience for audiences.

The anticipation for "The Wiz" is mounting, and with its incredible cast, visionary creative team, and a fusion of ballet, jazz, and modern pop, this production promises to transport audiences to a vibrant and mesmerizing Oz like never before. As the tour prepares to kick off in Baltimore in fall 2023 and make its way across the country, fans and theater enthusiasts eagerly await the opportunity to witness this extraordinary revival. 

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