Sistas star Brian Jordan, Jr. will direct and choreograph a new production of The Wiz for Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company, with previews set to begin June 13 ahead of a June 16 opening night. The run, part of the Atlanta theatre's 20th anniversary season, will continue through July 2. Casting will be announced in the coming weeks.
The production will be the last major regional staging of the "super soul musical" before a separate, Schele Williams-directed production embarks on a Broadway-bound national tour.
"The Wiz was a staple of True Colors’ early years when I had the distinct pleasure of directing our production for four consecutive years from 2004-2007," says Leon, True Colors co-founder and artistic director emeritus. "I am pleased that Brian and [Artistic Director] Jamil [Jude] will feature an all-Atlanta cast as they honor the history and illuminate the power of True Colors’ artistic excellence in Black storytelling."
Best known as Maurice Web on BET's Sistas, Jordan is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts who spent time performing on regional stages before taking his career to the screen. Jordan is also the creator of the new musical Riley, which tracks six students matriculating at a public, historically Black school in the bayou, and he wrote, produced, and starred in the film Georgia Sky.
Adapted from L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz with a score by Charlie Smalls and a book by William F. Brown, The Wiz transforms the classic American fairy tale to a celebration of Black artistry, with a score of soul, R&B, and gospel music. The original production became a surprise hit after it opened on Broadway in 1974, going on to win seven 1975 Tony Awards including Best Musical. In the years since, the work received an all-star screen adaptation in 1978 featuring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, a brief Broadway revival in 1984, and a live TV production via NBC in 2015, the latter of which was directed by Leon and Matthew Diamond.
Tickets for the production are currently on sale at TrueColorsTheatre.org.