Come one, come all to the Emerald City as The WIZ approaches the Benedum Center Pittsburgh from October 31st to November 5th! For the first time in forty years, the seven-time Tony Award-winning “Best Musical” is on the road for a fresh pre-Broadway National tour that will feature a reimagining of L. Frank Baum’s familiar world of Oz. Finger-snapping ‘70s funk and gospel rock are king in this revival, showcasing infectious show-tunes like “What Would I Do If I Could Feel?” “Be the Lion” and “Ease on Down The Road.” Presented by Kristin Caskey and the Ambassador Theatre Group, this enduring tale of transformation and self-discovery guarantees a moving experience that will delight audiences of all ages! Accompany Dorothy down the yellow brick road once again and gather at the top concert hall in all of Pennsylvania to witness this all-new dynamite production. Tap your shining ruby slippers and purchase your tickets now!
The Wiz Tickets:
“Radiates so much energy that you can hardly sit in your seat … Great fun.” New York Post
“A carnival of fun … Wickedly amusing.” – Time Magazine
Magic, music, and wiz-dom come together to give this production a funky new beat! From October 31 to November 5, return to a brand new land of Oz and catch The Wiz live at the Benedum Center Pittsburgh! The show will run for two hours and twenty minutes with one intermission, so plan your night accordingly.
Kicking off last September in Baltimore, this new production is on a 12-date trek that ends with a grand opening on Broadway this coming spring at the Marquis Theatre – and most critics are already claiming that it’s “fully ready to go”! The Wiz is essentially a black version of the iconic Wizard of Oz with protagonists and plots that are faithful to L. Frank Baum’s narrative.
“Graced with fitful acrobatics, the production exploded with color and impressive vocal performances.” – Variety
Originally released in 1975, the spinoff musical garnered acclaim after earning seven Tony awards and five Drama Desk Awards. Significantly, this also marked the first time an African American has secured a Tony Award for directing, costume design, choreography, and Best Musical. Years later, the award-winning production was adapted into a film of the same title, which starred celebrities like Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russel, and Diana Ross.
Although it is based on William F. Brown’s book, this stage version begins much like the film does, in “black and white.” The famous story opens on a tumbledown farm in Kansas where a vicious tornado drops the main characters Dorothy and Toto off in a little piece of urban Oz. The stage blossoms into color with this entrance, and the yellow brick road appears before our main protagonist, leading to the famed Emerald City. Traveling down this path, she is greeted by the sight of Munchkins celebrating the death of the Wicked Witch of the East.
Dorothy continues her journey and forms an odd bunch, including an uptight Tin Man who requires guidance to let loose again, a hip Scarecrow who wants to join her, a mama’s boy Lion who has lost trust in the mental health treatment he’s been receiving from an owl, and an overly uptight Tin Man. As a united group, they venture to seek help from “The Wiz” and later on challenge the formidable Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West.
“One of the most cyclonic blasts to hit Broadway in a long time.” – Newsweek
“A virtual musical circus … Driving rhythms, soaring songs … Boisterous, exuberant.” – WABCTV
Philip Johnson Richardson, who plays the Tinman, shares how ecstatic he is to be a part of this spinoff. “I’m very excited… this show is so, so crazy and so good. And it’s, the legacy is so, it’s so deep. Like the fact that I get to be part of it is insane,” he adds. For those who wish to view the entire main cast, check the list down below:
MAIN CAST – THE WIZ: PRE-BROADWAY NATIONAL TOUR
- Nichelle Lewis as Dorothy
- Alan Mingo Jr as The Wiz (On selected dates)
- Wayne Brady as The Wiz (On selected dates)
- Deborah Cox as Glinda
- Melody A. Betts as Aunt Em and Evillene
- Kyle Ramar Freeman as the Lion
- Phillip Johnson Richardson as the Tinman
- Avery Wilson as the Scarecrow
The rest of the ensemble includes Cristina Rae, Matthew Sims Jr, Avilon Trust Tate, Judith Franklin, Michael Samarie George, Collin Heyward, Amber Jackson, Maya Bowles, Shayla Alayre Caldwell, Jay Copeland, Allyson Kaye Daniel, Olivia Jackson, Christina Jones, Polanco Jones, Kolby Kindle, Mariah Lyttle, Kareen Marsh, Anthony Murphy, and Keenan D. Washington.
Moreover, The Wiz design team consists of Hannah Beachler on scenic design, Sharen Davis on costume design, Ryan J. O’Gara on lighting design, Jon Weston on sound design, Daniel Brodie on projection design, Charles LaPointe on wig design and Kirk Cambridge-Del Pesche on make-up design. See the rest of the core creatives for the production right here:
CREATIVE TEAM – THE WIZ: PRE-BROADWAY NATIONAL TOUR
- Book by William F. Brown
- Music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls
- Additional material Amber Ruffin
- Directed by Schele Williams
- Choreographed by JaQuel Knight
- Music supervision, Orchestrations, and Music Arrangement by Joseph Joubert
“With belting vocals and dazzling dance, this musical update jumps into a vivid Oz full of street art and neon lights” – The Guardian
The Benedum Center is known far and wide as the best location in Pennsylvania for watching Broadway shows. Drive down to the Cultural District of Pittsburgh and witness The Wiz in its full spectacle! Ready to visit Oz like never before? Click your heels three times and reserve your seats as soon as you can!