Behind the Emerald Curtain: Exploring the Cast & Crew of The Wiz

So you wanted to see The Wizard? Let us tell you, you’ve come to the right place! The starry-eyed Broadway revival of The Wiz is currently playing eight shows a week at the Marquis Theatre in New York City. With a refreshed book by Amber Ruffin, the updated version of the 1974 musical features starring turns by fresh-faced talent Nichelle Lewis as well as veteran stars like Wayne Brady and Deborah Cox.

Take a peek behind the emerald curtain and get to know the entire cast and creative team behind the latest iteration of the beloved musical below. And while you dive into the who’s who on your way to Oz, make sure you snatch up The Wiz on Broadway tickets via Ticketmaster.

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The Wiz Characters & Cast

Dorothy is played by Nichelle Lewis. The 24-year-old newcomer is making her Broadway debut following appearances on the national tours of Hairspray, Little Shop of Horrors, Bare: A Pop Opera and the new musical Labelless.

The Wiz is played by Wayne Brady. The five-time Emmy winner’s television resume includes Whose Line Is It Anyway?, The Masked Singer, Dancing With the Stars, The Good Fight, Black Lightning, American Gigolo, his daytime talk show The Wayne Brady Show and more. Meanwhile, Brady’s Broadway credits include playing Billy Flynn in Chicago, Lola in Kinky Boots, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Freestyle Love Supreme and Aaron Burr in the Chicago production of Hamilton at The PrivateBank Theatre.

Note: Brady will depart on June 12, and Alan Mingo Jr. will step into the title role.

Glinda is played by Deborah Cox. The Canadian pop star boasts six Top 20 singles on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and 13 No. 1 hits on the Dance Club Songs tally including “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” “Who Do U Love” and “Absolutely Not.” In 2022, Cox became the very first Black woman inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Her recent TV credits include BET’s The First Wives Club and Max’s Station Eleven.

deborah cox the wiz
Deborah Cox in The Wiz (photo by Jeremy Daniel)

Auntie Em/Evillene is played by Melody A. Betts. The Chicago-based actress has previously appeared on Broadway in Waitress and Off-Broadway in Invisible Thread. In her hometown, Betts most recently performed in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s world premiere of The Factotum as well as Fruma Sarah/Grandma Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof.

Lion is played by Kyle Ramar Freeman. A native of Miami, Freeman made his Broadway debut in the original cast of Michael R. Jackson’s A Strange Loop, which went on to win both the Tony Award for Best Musical and a Pulitzer Prize. Before easing on down the road to Oz, the actor was starring in A Strange Loop on London’s West End.

@ticketmaster

The Wiz is back on Broadway! ✨ We hit the yellow brick carpet for the opening of The Wiz. The emerald city has never been brighter with stars like @Wayne Brady, @Nichelle Lewis, @Deborah Cox, and so many more! Check out @The Wiz Bway at the Marquis Theatre on Broadway now 💚 #thewiz #broadwaymusicals #redcarpet #ticketmaster

♬ original sound – Ticketmaster

Tinman is played by Phillip Johnson Richardson. Making his Broadway debut in The Wiz, the North Carolina native was previously a series regular on the Apple TV+ series Little Voice created by Sara Bareilles.

Scarecrow is played by Avery Wilson. The rising R&B star was personally signed by Clive Davis to RCA Records in 2013 and has released EPs FYI (2018) and 8:34 (2019) as well as singles like “If I Have To, “Change My Mind” featuring Migos, “Smoke” and “Kiss The Sky.”

The ensemble is played by Lauryn Adams (swing), Shayla Caldwell, Jay Copeland, Allyson Kaye Daniel, Judith Franklin, Michael Samarie George (swing), Collin Heyward, Amber Jackson, Olivia Jackson, Christina Jones, Polanco Jones Jr., Kolby Kindle, Mariah Lyttle, Kareem Marsh, Alan Mingo Jr. (The Wiz standby), Anthony Murphy, Dustin Praylow (swing), Cristina Raė, Matthew Sims Jr. (swing), Avilon Trust Tate, Keenan D. Washington and Timothy Wilson (swing).

the wiz cast and crew
The Wiz ensemble (photo by Jeremy Daniel)

The Wiz Crew & Creative

  • William F. Brown – Book
  • Charlie Smalls – Music & Lyrics
  • Amber Ruffin – Writer
  • Schele Williams – Director
  • Jaquel Knight – Choreographer
  • Joseph Joubert – Music Supervision, Orchestrations & Music Arrangements
  • Allen René Louis – Vocal Arrangements & Music Arrangements
  • Adam Blackstone – Dance Music Arrangements
  • Terence Vaughn – Dance Music Arrangements
  • Paul Byssainthe Jr. – Music Director
  • Hannah Beachler – Scenic Design
  • Sharen Davis – Costume Design
  • Ryan J. O’Gara – Lighting Design
  • Jon Weston – Sound Design
  • Daniel Brodie – Video & Projection Design
  • Charles G. LaPointe – Hair & Wig Design
  • Kirk Cambridge Del-Pesche – Makeup Design

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