"Wayne had several conflicts early on that we were able to accommodate, but as we got further into preparation of The Wiz, a previously agreed-to project of Wayne's was rescheduled, creating a conflict during the rehearsal period that was insurmountable," McAnuff stated. "Rashad is a genuine triple threat: a great actor, a spectacular singer, and a very accomplished dancer."
Naylor was in the ensemble of the Broadway production of Hairspray and understudied the role of Seaweed. He has also played Sammy Davis in the Rat Pack Live! From Vegas.
As previously reported, The Wiz will also star Nikki M. James (Dorothy), Michael Benjamin Washington (The Tin Man), Tituss Burgess (The Lion), Valarie Pettiford (Auntie Em/Glinda), David Alan Grier (The Wiz), E. Faye Butler (Evilene), Heather Lee (Addaperle), Albert Blaise (Toto), and Orville Mendoza (Uncle Henry).
The ensemble includes Charl Brown, Courtney Corey, Mark Emerson, Dionne D. Figgins, Demond Green, Albert Guerzon, Dominique Kelley, Ron Kellum, Alan Mingo, Anisha Nagarajan, NRaca, Karine Plantadit, Terra-Lee Pollin, Keiana Richard, Liz Ramos, and Marcos Santana. The creative team is headed by Sergio Trujillo (choreography), Robert Brill (set design), Howell Binkley (lighting design), and Paul Tazewell (costume design).
The Wiz, an African-American adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, has a score by Charlie Smalls and a book by William F. Brown. The original Broadway production opened in 1975 and ran for nearly 1,700 performances; it won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical. A 1984 revival, headlined by original star Stephanie Mills as Dorothy, lasted just 13 performances. The 1978 film version, directed by Sidney Lumet , starred Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Richard Pryor, and Lena Horne.