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Stephanie Mills sets Broadway return in ‘Hadestown’

The original “Wiz” star will join the company of the long-running musical in July.

Stephanie Mills (Credit: Courtesy of DKC/O&M)

Stephanie Mills will join the Tony Award-winning musical “Hadestown.” Mills will take over the role of Hermes beginning on July 2 at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Mills will succeed Jon Jon Briones, who will play his final performance on June 30.

“Hadestown” will mark Mills’ first appearance on the Main Stem in over three decades, and her first time replacing in a role on Broadway. Mills made her Broadway debut at the age of 11 in 1968’s “Maggie Flynn.” She created the role of Dorothy in the original 1975 production of “The Wiz,” a role she reprised for national tours in 1983 and 1992, as well as in a 1984 Broadway revival. She played a concert engagement on Broadway in 1989, and later played Sarah in the 1998 Chicago production of “Ragtime.” As a recording artist, Mills won a Best Female R&B Vocal Performance Grammy Award for her 1980 song “Never Knew Love Like This Before.”

“After nearly 50 years in the entertainment business, which is all I’ve ever known, every fiber of my professional being I owe to the discipline of my Broadway training as a child at the beginning of my career,” Mills said in a statement. “The joy of life’s full-circle moment for me is returning to my roots — only this time as Hermes in ‘Hadestown.’ Power!”

Mills is now the third “Wiz” alum to take on the role of Hermes. André De Shields, who won a Tony for originating Hermes, created the titular role in 1975’s “The Wiz.” Lillias White, who understudied and eventually took over the role of Dorothy in the 1978 national tour of “The Wiz,” completed a year-and-a-half-long tenure as Hermes in March.

The current principal cast of “Hadestown” includes Jordan Fisher as Orpheus, Phillip Boykin as Hades, Ani DiFranco as Persephone and Isa Briones as Eurydice, the latter two of whom will also exit the production on June 30. As previously announced, Yola and Maia Reficco will step into the roles of Persephone and Eurydice, respectively, on July 2.

Featuring a Tony-nominated book and a Tony-winning score by Anaïs Mitchell, “Hadestown” reexamines the love stories of Orpheus and Eurydice, as well as Hades and Persephone, of Greek myth fame. Directed by Rachel Chavkin, the musical opened on April 17, 2019, and was nominated for 14 Tony Awards, winning eight, including Best Musical and an award for Chavkin.

“Hadestown” is produced by Mara Isaacs, Dale Franzen, Hunter Arnold and Tom Kirdahy.