New model of ‘The Wiz’ can be led by Wayne Brady and Alan Mingo Jr. sharing the title function | FOX 4 Kansas Metropolis WDAF-TV

MARK KENNEDY, Associated Press

4 hours ago

FILE – Wayne Brady attends the Paramount 2022 Upfront Party in New York on May 18, 2022. Brady and Alan Mingo Jr. will perform as Wiz in San Francisco from January 16 through February. 11 at the Golden Gate Theater and in Los Angeles from February 13 to March 3 before hitting Broadway in spring 2024. (Photo by Christopher Smith/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) – Two men who slipped on six-inch heels for Broadway’s “Kinky Boots” will play the title character behind the curtain when “The Wiz” tours the United States beginning this fall and hitting Broadway in 2024 — Wayne Brady and Alan Mingo Jr.

“Me and Wayne are going back as actors to where we were friends, Los Angeles,” says Minho. “So what better way to share a gig with your friends?” Brady adds, “It’s a dream. It really is a dream.”

Brady will perform as Wiz in San Francisco from January 16th to February. 11 at the Golden Gate Theater and in Los Angeles from February 13 to March 3 before hitting Broadway in spring 2024.

Mingo will play the Wiz in the remaining cities of the national tour beginning with the start in Baltimore and including Cleveland; Washington, D.C.; Pittsburgh; Charlotte, North Carolina; Atlanta; Greenville, South Carolina; Chicago; Des Moines, Iowa; Tempe, Arizona and San Diego.

Most recently, the two actors appeared on Broadway in Kinky Boots, where they played Lola. Brady passed the role to Mingo, and “now I’ll go out on the street and then I’ll pass the baton to him,” says Mingo.

“The Wiz” was one of two shows that a young Brady always dreamed of doing one day. “I’ve always wanted to be on The Wiz.” I’ve always wanted to be on Dreamgirls. Those were two of the classics that were something of the North Star of theater as a kid. It was like, ‘Hey, if you can get on one of these shows, that means you made it.'”

The cast also includes Kyle Ramar Freeman as the lion, Phillip Johnson Richardson as the Tin Man and Avery Wilson as the Scarecrow. Schele Williams will direct and says she hopes the show will be a “touchstone for a new generation”.

The show is an adaptation of The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, with a book by William F. Brown and music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls.

The Wiz premiered on Broadway in 1975 and won seven Tonys, including Best Musical. It includes such classic songs as “What Would I Do If I Could Feel” and “Ease On Down the Road”.

A 1978 film version of The Wiz starred Diana Ross, Lena Horne and Richard Pryor as Wiz. Michael Jackson played the scarecrow, Nipsey Russell played the tin man and Ted Ross played the lion. NBC televised a live version in 2015, starring Queen Latifah, Ne-Yo and David Alan Grier.

Both Brady and Mingo say the show — with black actors front and center — is finding a new resonance as it progresses at a slower pace in the coming months.

“I think of all these people of color on this stage telling the story of a young woman who is lost and looking for something. Disenfranchised, she happens to meet three other young people who are all looking for something and can’t get answers from the elderly around them because the world is in chaos. She has to make an effort and find her way – now is the right time.”

Mingo, who starred in the original series Rent and The Little Mermaid, said The Wiz played an important role in inspiring his career.

“It motivated me to get into this business,” he says. “I love bringing our art to new audiences. Hopefully they will make wonderful patrons, if not art themselves.”

The original Broadway production starred Stephanie Mills as Dorothy, Dee Dee Bridgewater as the good witch Glinda, and Andre De Shields as the wizard.

Brady, who won a Primetime Emmy Award for “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” says he’ll place his wiz somewhere between Prior and De Shields.

“I already know I have two places to find inspiration. I loved Richard’s dark twist and I loved Andre’s standout twist, his panache and all the grandiosity,” he says. “So I think somewhere in the middle I’ll put my husband. I think I can add a certain charm and light to it all.”


Mark Kennedy is at

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button