Producers Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson, Brian Anthony Moreland, and Ambassador Theatre Group are thrilled to announce Broadway newcomer Nichelle Lewis will star as “Dorothy” and lead the cast of The Wiz in the national tour this fall and Broadway return in the Spring of 2024. Ms. Lewis who hails from Virginia was discovered via a TikTok video, and selected from more than 2,000 submissions for the coveted role.
The production was also thrilled to welcome Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker as producers of the musical.
The cast will include previously announced Wayne Brady to lead the production as the Wiz on Broadway in Spring of 2024, San Francisco (January 16 – February 11, 2024) at the Golden Gate Theatre, and Los Angeles (February 13 – March 3, 2024) at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. Alan Mingo Jr. will star in the role of the Wiz in the following cities of The Wiz National Tour this fall, kicking off with the tour launch in Baltimore, including Cleveland, OH, Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, PA, Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC, Chicago, IL, Des Moines, IA, Tempe, AZ and San Diego, CA.
The cast will also include previously announced Deborah Cox as Glinda and Melody A. Betts as Aunt Em and Evillene, Kyle Ramar Freeman as the Lion, Phillip Johnson Richardson as the Tinman, and Avery Wilson as the Scarecrow. Richardson and Wilson will be making their Broadway debuts. The Wiz ensemble includes Maya Bowles, Shayla Alayre Caldwell, Jay Copeland, Allyson Kaye Daniel, Judith Franklin, Michael Samarie George, Collin Heyward, Amber Jackson, Olivia Jackson, Christina Jones, Polanco Jones, Kolby Kindle, Mariah Lyttle, Kareem Marsh, Anthony Murphy, Cristina Rae, Matthew Sims Jr, Avilon Trust Tate, Keenan D. Washington, and Timothy Wilson.
Featuring a book by William F. Brown and a Tony Award-winning score by Charlie Smalls (and others), director Schele Williams (The Notebook, revival of Disney’s Aida), award-winning choreographer JaQuel Knight (Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” Black is King), additional material by Tony-nominated and Emmy-nominated writer and TV host Amber Ruffin (“The Amber Ruffin Show,” “Late Night With Seth Meyers”), Joseph Joubert (music supervision, orchestrations, & music arrangements), and Allen René Louis (vocal arrangements, music arrangements), are conjuring up an Oz unlike anything ever seen before. A dynamite infusion of ballet, jazz, and modern pop will bring a whole new groove to easing on down the road.
The Wiz design team will include scenic design by Academy Award-winning Hannah Beachler (Black Panther, Beyoncé’s Black is King and Lemonade), costume design by Emmy Award-winning and two-time Academy Award-nominated Sharen Davis (Ray, Dreamgirls), lighting design by Barrymore Award-winning Ryan J. O’Gara (Thoughts of a Colored Man), sound design by Jon Weston (Parade), projection design by Daniel Brodie (Motown the Musical) and wig design by Charles LaPointe (MJ the Musical).
The Wiz will launch its national tour in the Fall of 2023 in Baltimore, MD, home of the 1974 world premiere of the musical, September 23-30, 2023. Following its run at the Hippodrome Theatre, the tour will slide into Emerald cities across the country before it begins its limited engagement on Broadway in the Spring 2024.
Tickets are currently available exclusively as part of season subscription packages and group sales in each tour city. Additional information on tour cities, venues, performance schedules and single ticket on sale dates is available at WizMusical.com. Fans can now sign up for an email newsletter with up-to-date information as well as follow The Wiz on social media channels.
Based on L. Frank Baum’s children’s book, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, The Wiz 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. The Wiz premiered on Broadway in 1975 and became an instant sensation, going on to win seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Ted Ross), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Dee Dee Bridgewater), Best Choreography (George Faison), and in a Broadway first, Best Direction of a Musical and Best Costume Design (Geoffrey Holder). “Ease on Down the Road” became the show’s break-out single, and “Home” has since become a bona fide classic. That original production ran for four years (first at The Majestic Theatre and later at The Broadway Theatre) – and 1,672 performances – on Broadway. A 1978 film adaptation starred Diana Ross, Ted Ross, Mabel King, Richard Pryor and Lena Horne, and marked Quincy Jones’ first collaboration with Michael Jackson.
Casting by: Tara Rubin Casting.
Nichelle Lewis (Dorothy) is a 24 year old native of Virginia, and thrilled to portray Dorothy in the revival of The Wiz, marking her Broadway debut. The New York based singer-songwriter has performed in the national tour of Hairspray (Dynamite/Cindy Watkins); Little Shop of Horrors (Chiffon/Crystal); Bare: A Pop Opera (Ivy); and most recently Labelless, a new musical.
Nichelle always felt she had a calling much bigger than herself. It wasn’t until she was asked to sing a solo tribute to her late father at age 10 that she realized what that calling was. She mustered up as much courage as she could to sing, “My Help,” and by the end of the song the whole church was crying, not tears of sadness but of love and joy. In that moment, she knew she was called to inspire others through song. Nichelle truly believes that the voice she sang with that day could have only been a gift. A gift she continues to hone and discover new things about over the years. She started her career singing in church and show choir, and booking gigs at weddings before “American Idol” reached out to her on Instagram to audition her on the show last summer.
Nichelle says all of this to say that she is unbelievably grateful for the amazing opportunity to portray Dorothy. A character, who much like herself and others, overcomes many trials and tribulations in life that only help to make her stronger, wiser, and more determined. Nichelle is grateful to her mother who raised her children with a will like no other and encouraged Nichelle to stay on the path, to remain hardworking and kind, and to never stop listening to her heart. And finally, she would like to thank her friends and family, both present and looking down from above, for their love and immense support. TikTok & IG @iamnichellelewis.