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Brady, Burgess, Grier, James, Pettiford, Washington to Star in La Jolla's The Wiz

Wayne Brady
(© Joseph Marzullo/Retna)
Nikki M. James, Wayne Brady, Michael Benjamin Washington, Tituss Burgess, Valarie Pettiford, and David Alan Grier will star in the The Wiz, September 26-November 12. The show will be directed by Des McAnuff, the theater's outgoing artistic director.

The show will also star E. Faye Butler (Evilene), Heather Lee (Addaperle), and Orville Mendoza (Uncle Henry). The creative team ncludes 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. However, a 1984 revival, which also had original star Stephanie Mills as Dorothy, lasted just 13 performances. A 1978 film version, directed by Sidney Lumet , starred Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Richard Pryor, and Lena Horne.

James, who will play Dorothy, has starred in New York All Shook Up, Bernarda Alba, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and the City Center Encores! production of House of Flowers. Brady, who will play the Scarecrow, is well known for his film and television work, including his Emmy-winning talk show. He also played Billy Flynn in the Broadway production of Chicago. Washington, who will play the Tin Man, played Jacob in the 2004 Broadway revival of La Cage aux Folles. Burgess, who will play the Lion, is currently in the cast of the Broadway hit Jersey Boys. Pettiford, who will double in the roles of Auntie Em and Glinda, is best known for her work in the Broadway production of Fosse. Grier, who will play The Wiz, has appeared on Broadway in The First, Dreamgirls, and the 1996 revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and starred on such TV shows as In Living Color and DAG.

McAnuff is the Tony-winning director of Big River and The Who's Tommy. He is currently represented on Broadway by Jersey Boys.