Theater News

The Wiz Announces Its Lion, Tinman, and Scarecrow

The musical’s pre-Broadway touring production will launch this fall.

Phillip Johnson Richardson, Avery Wilson, and Kyle Ramar Freeman join the touring cast of The Wiz.
(Photos provided by the production)

Principal casting has been announced for the pre-Broadway national tour of The Wiz. The tour will launch in fall 2023 in Baltimore, MD, home of the musical’s 1974 world premiere. The production will then go on to a limited Broadway engagement in spring 2024.

The cast will include Kyle Ramar Freeman (A Strange Loop) as the Lion, Phillip Johnson Richardson (Sharper, Apple+) as the Tinman, and Avery Wilson (The Voice) as the Scarecrow. Richardson and Wilson will be making their Broadway debuts. Additional casting will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Wiz features a book by William F. Brown and a Tony Award-winning score by Charlie Smalls (and others). Schele Williams directs the new production, which also includes choreography by JaQuel Knight and additional material by Emmy-nominated writer and TV host Amber Ruffin. Music supervision, orchestrations, and music arrangements are by Joseph Joubert, and vocal and music arrangements are by Allen René Louis.

Based on L. Frank Baum’s children’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Wiz takes one of the world’s most enduring American fantasies, and transforms it into an all-Black musical extravaganza for the ages.

The Wiz premiered on Broadway in 1975 and went 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), Best Direction of a Musical (Geoffrey Holder), and Best Costume Design (Geoffrey Holder). A 1978 film adaptation starred Diana Ross, Ted Ross, Mabel King, Richard Pryor, and Lena Horne.