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The Broadway Review: A busy revival of ‘The Wiz’ still doles out verifiable fun

Schele Williams beckons the Black theater staple back to Broadway for a directorially untethered but reliably good time.

Wayne Brady (center) and members of the company of “The Wiz” on Broadway, 2024 (Credit: Jeremy Daniel)

Good morning, and welcome to Broadway News’ Broadway Review by Brittani Samuel — our overview of reactions, recommendations and information tied to last night’s Broadway opening of “The Wiz.” 


(L-R) Kyle Ramar Freeman as Lion, Avery Wilson as Scarecrow, Nichelle Lewis as Dorothy, Phillip Johnson Richardson as Tinman in “The Wiz” on Broadway, 2024 (Credit: Jeremy Daniel)

While the original Broadway production of “The Wiz” was a landmark achievement and hit with audiences, subsequent productions garnered mixed reviews — with the first major revival fizzling out in less than a month and Sidney Lumet’s 1978 film currently rotting around 44 percent on Rotten Tomatoes’ critics scale. But “The Wiz” never longed for approval from anyone but the people it glorifies. And in Black homes, the musical is canon. In this second major Broadway revival, the show’s extravagant display of Black magical realism and its persistent humor blaze over the technical challenges. The script — updated by comedian and Tony Award-nominated scribe Amber Ruffin — maintains its timeless charm even as it lurches (rather than eases) us through Dorothy’s fantastical journey. Major happenings — landing in Oz, meeting the Scarecrow (Avery Wilson), Tinman (Phillip Johnson Richardson) and Lion (Kyle Ramar Freeman), arriving at Emerald City — sweep in at tornado pace, jerking us from one scene to the next.

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