DEBORAH COX AND LASCELLES STEPHENS OF DECO ENTERTAINMENT JOIN AS CO-PRODUCERS FOR “THE WIZ”
Tour Press Contacts:
Marc Viscardi/ Linda Stewart /Janiya Wade
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE
NORTH AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY
FOUNDED BY LASCELLES STEPHENS AND DEBORAH COX
JOINS AS CO-PRODUCERS FOR
LAUNCHING NATIONAL TOUR THIS MONTH IN BALTIMORE
AHEAD OF ITS HIGHLY ANTICIPATED RETURN TO BROADWAY
Lascelles Stephens and Deborah Cox of DECO Entertainment
New York, NY (September 22, 2023) – Producers Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson, Brian Anthony Moreland, Ambassador Theatre Group, Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker announced entertainment company DECO Entertainment, founded by Lascelles Stephens and Deborah Cox, will join the co-producing team of the all-new production of The Wiz. The production will launch a national tour on September 23, 2023 in Baltimore, MD before returning to Broadway for a limited engagement in the 2023/24 season.
“Excited to announce that our company, Deco Entertainment, has signed on as Co-Producers of The Wiz! We are proud to be part of this iconic show. This production celebrates all of who we are as a culture and people. This means everything to us. We feel a deep sense of pride in bringing this reimagined version to a whole new generation. The creative team has created a beautiful tapestry for us all to enjoy.”
Joining the producing team with Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson, Brian Anthony Moreland, Ambassador Theatre Group, Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker are Elizabeth Armstrong, James L. Nederlander, Hudson/Mann, Cody Lassen/Matthew D’Arrigo, Independent Presenters Network, Amanda DuBois Productions/Ari Edelson, Dori Berinstein, Spencer Ross/Stephanie Cowan, Terry Schnuck/Gabrielle Palitz, Pippa Lambert/Alissa Norby, Gina Vernaci, Common, MC Lyte, Patty Baker, Marlene & Gary Cohen, Concord Theatricals, The Fabulous Invalid, Fakston Productions, Brian & Nick Ginsberg, Gabrielle Glore, Grove Entertainment, Haffner-Wright Theatricals, House Woods Productions, John Gore Organization, Kawana Entertainment, Willette Klausner, MMC Productions, Lamar Richardson, Runyonland Productions, Erica Lynn Schwartz, The Shubert Organization, Lu-Shawn Thompson, Lana Williams- Woods, The Araca Group, Blakeman-Robinson Entm’t/Ricardo Marques, Robert Tichio/Score 3, Best Yet Entertainment/Branden Grimmett, Dkim Caldwell/Mickalene Thomas, DMQR Productions, Jason Turchin, Epic Theatricals/Jeffrey Grove, Joel Glassman/Westin Hicks, Jamrock Productions/Sonya Houston, Sally Johnston/Ann Scott, Judith Manocherian/Theatre Nerd Productions, and Alan Seales/Gonzalez-Leiba Jr.
The cast will include previously announced Wayne Brady to lead the production as
the Wiz on Broadway in Spring of 2024, San Francisco (January 16 – February 11, 2024) at the Golden Gate Theatre, and Los Angeles (February 13 – March 3, 2024) at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. Alan Mingo Jr. will star in the role of the Wiz in the following cities of The Wiz National Tour this fall, kicking off with the tour launch in Baltimore, including Cleveland, OH, Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, PA, Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC, Chicago, IL, Des Moines, IA, Tempe, AZ and San Diego, CA.
The cast will also feature Nichelle Lewis as Dorothy, Deborah Cox as Glinda and Melody A. Betts as Aunt Em and Evillene, Kyle Ramar Freeman as the Lion, Phillip Johnson Richardson as the Tinman, and Avery Wilson as the Scarecrow. The Wiz ensemble includes Maya Bowles, Shayla Alayre Caldwell, Jay Copeland, Allyson Kaye Daniel, Judith Franklin, Michael Samarie George, Collin Heyward, Amber Jackson, Olivia Jackson, Christina Jones, Polanco Jones, Kolby Kindle, Mariah Lyttle, Kareem Marsh, Anthony Murphy, Cristina Rae, Matthew Sims Jr, Avilon Trust Tate, Keenan D. Washington, and Timothy Wilson.
Featuring a book by William F. Brown and a Tony Award-winning score by Charlie Smalls (and others), director Schele Williams (The Notebook, revival of Disney’s Aida), award-winning choreographer JaQuel Knight (Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” Black is King), additional material by Tony-nominated and Emmy-nominated writer and TV host Amber Ruffin (“The Amber Ruffin Show,” “Late Night With Seth Meyers”), Joseph Joubert (music supervision, orchestrations, & music arrangements), Allen René Louis (vocal arrangements, music arrangements) and Emmy Award®-winning music director and Grammy Award®-winning writer, Adam Blackstone (Dance Music Arranger), are conjuring up an Oz unlike anything ever seen before. A dynamite infusion of ballet, jazz, and modern pop will bring a whole new groove to easing on down the road.
The Wiz design team will include scenic design by Academy Award-winning Hannah Beachler (Black Panther, Beyoncé’s Black is King and Lemonade), costume design by Emmy Award-winning and two-time Academy Award-nominated Sharen Davis (Ray, Dreamgirls), lighting design by Barrymore Award-winning Ryan J. O’Gara (Thoughts of a Colored Man), sound design by Jon Weston (Parade), projection design by Daniel Brodie (Motown the Musical), wig design by Charles LaPointe (MJ the Musical) and make-up design by Kirk Cambridge-Del Pesche (The Piano Lesson).
The production will include ‘Everybody Rejoice’ music and lyrics by Luther Vandross, as well as the ‘Emerald City Ballet’ with music by Timothy Graphenreed.
The Wiz will launch its national tour in the Fall of 2023 in Baltimore, MD, home of the 1974 world premiere of the musical, September 23-30, 2023. Following its run at the Hippodrome Theatre, the tour will slide into Emerald cities across the country before it begins its limited engagement on Broadway in the Spring 2024.
Tickets are currently available exclusively as part of season subscription packages and group sales in each tour city. Additional information on tour cities, venues, performance schedules and single ticket on sale dates is available at WizMusical.com. Fans can now sign up for an email newsletter with up-to-date information as well as follow The Wiz on social media channels.
Based on L. Frank Baum’s children’s book, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, The Wiz takes one of the world’s most enduring (and enduringly white) American fantasies, and transforms it into an all-Black musical extravaganza for the ages.
The Wiz premiered on Broadway in 1975 and became an instant sensation, going 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), and in a Broadway first, Best Direction of a Musical and Best Costume Design (Geoffrey Holder). “Ease on Down the Road” became the show’s break-out single, and “Home” has since become a bona fide classic. That original production ran for four years (first at The Majestic Theatre and later at The Broadway Theatre) – and 1,672 performances – on Broadway. A 1978 film adaptation starred Diana Ross, Ted Ross, Mabel King, Richard Pryor and Lena Horne, and marked Quincy Jones’ first collaboration with Michael Jackson.
Casting by: Tara Rubin Casting.
DECO ENTERTAINMENT (Co-Producer) is a North American entertainment company. Founded in 2003 by award-winning producer and artist manager, Lascelles Stephens and his partner in work and life, Canadian Music Hall of Fame Inductee and globally celebrated artist, Deborah Cox.
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