The design team for the Broadway-bound national tour revival of The Wiz has been revealed. As previously announced, the new production will be directed by Schele Williams and feature choreography by Jaquel Knight, with performances scheduled to kick off in Baltimore, Maryland, this fall before embarking on a national tour and playing a limited engagement on Broadway in spring 2024.
Joining Williams' creative team are Academy Award-winning Black Panther production designer Hannah Beachler, who will provide scenic design; Emmy Award-winning Watchmen and Dreamgirls costume designer Sharen Davis; lighting designer Ryan J. O'Gara; and Academy Award-winning Ma Rainey's Black Bottom wig designer Mia Neal.
Adapted from L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz with a score by Charlie Smalls and a book by William F. Brown, the musical has not been seen on the Main Stem since a short-lived 1984 revival. Dates and a theatre for the new production's Broadway bow are to be announced.
Also on the creative team is Amber Ruffin, who will provide additional material. The gig is Ruffin's second theatrical outing, following her work co-writing the book to Broadway's current Some Like It Hot with Matthew Lopez. Joseph Joubert will provide music supervision, orchestrations, and arrangements.
The Wiz premiered on Broadway in 1975, transforming Baum's classic children's novel into an all-Black "super soul musical," as it was originally billed. A surprise hit of the season, the musical won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Score, Featured Actor in a Musical (Ted Ross), Featured Actress in a Musical (Dee Dee Bridgewater), Choreography (George Faison), and Direction of a Musical and Costume Design (both Geoffrey Holder). The score's "Ease On Down the Road" and "Home" became breakout hits, and original star Stephanie Mills was propelled into stardom. The musical made the jump to the big screen in 1978 with a film adaptation starring Diana Ross, Lena Horne, Richard Pryor, Michael Jackson, and, reprising his Broadway performance as the Cowardly Lion, Ted Ross.
The musical got the live TV treatment via NBC in 2015, a production that was initially announced as being Broadway bound following the television premiere. That revival, which would have been produced by Neil Meron and the late Craig Zadan, never materialized.