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An Ode to Black Excellence

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The WIZ Broadway Premiere

Source: Tito Cepeda / Tito Cepeda

“It’s a legacy not a show” gushes director Schele Williams.

The original landmark Black classic musical first opened almost 50 years ago. Many of the original cast members, including Stephanie Mills who played Dorothy, Andre De Shields, the Wiz, and Ken Page, the lion, were there to welcome the incredible new cast of the iconic musical. Radio/TV personality Jazmyn Summers was on the yellow carpet for Radio One and brings the tea.

The original “The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical “Wonderful Wizard of Oz” won 7 tony awards

Popular R & B singer Deborah Cox who plays Glinda, the good witch of the South, tells Radio One “It’s thrilling to play in a show that is so beloved by so many cultures.”

The WIZ Broadway Premiere

Source: Jazmyn Summers / Jazmyn Summers

Dance captain Amber Jackson shares “This means everything to me. I grew up watching the wiz. To be part of Black history, Black culture and Black excellence and show people what we can do as Black people is an honor.”

Phillip Johnson Richardson, who reprises the role of the Tinman, reveals “It’s very 2024. A lot of the references, the music, it’s crazy.”  He says if he could ask the wiz for one thing it would be a “loft apartment. It’s a vibe I’ve never had. The high ceilings and the open space.”

If the Wiz is as successful as it promises to be, he might just get it.

Melodie A. Betts plays Auntie Em and the Wicked Witch of the West Evillene. Her powerhouse vocals got several standing ovations at the premiere. “It’s an honor to participate in this legacy but its physically challenging to go from sweet and cheery as Auntie Em to hot and spicy as Evillene. I have never sweated so much in a show,” laughs the veteran performer.

Newcomer Nichelle Lewis,  who stars as Dorothy looked gorgeous in green while attending the opening night party. Wayne Brady, the Wiz, rocked an enormous fur coat.

They were joined at the opening night celebration by co-stars , Deborah Cox, Melody A. Betts, Kyle Ramar Freeman, Phillip Johnson Richardson, and Avery Wilson which comes two months after the show played in Los Angeles for the final stop of the North American tour.

Some of the celebs who were in attendance at the opening included Common, Hillary Clinton, Anna Wintour, Ben Vereen, Peppermint, Sherri Shepherd, Tamron Hall, Elvis Nolasco (Godfather of Harlem)  Leslie Uggams, P Valley’s Brandee Evansand writer Amber Ruffin.

The current revival was produced by Real Housewives of Atlanta pair Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker.

Tamron Hall, whose show was recently renewed for a 6th season says of the Wiz “it’s the music, it’s the journey, its always like home, its Michael Jackson, its Nipsey, its Diana, its Stephanie, it’s a classic, it’s the past , present and future.”

The WIZ Broadway Premiere

Source: Jazmyn Summers / Jazmyn Summers

“If we do it right it will go on for another 50 years and then some,” declares Betts.

As the curtain rises on this latest chapter of The Wiz, it’s evident that its magic continues to captivate audiences, promising to enchant theatergoers for years to come.

Check out these gorgeous yellow carpet outfits.

"The Wiz" Broadway Opening Night

13 photos

Article by Jazmyn Summers.  Photos by Tito Cepeda .  Follow Jaz on Instagram, and Facebook. And please don’t forget to subscribe to Jazmyn Summers’ YouTube.

Jazmyn Summers 2024 Headshot

Source: Jazmyn Summers / Jazmyn Summers


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