Monday, October 18

Cast Announced for The Wiz at Hope Mill Theatre

Following its sold-out, critically acclaimed production of ‘Rent’, Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre in association with Ameena Hamid Productions announces the cast for a radical new version of the 70s musical The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical “Wonderful Wizard of Oz”.

Directed by Matthew Xia (‘Into the Woods’, Royal Exchange), The Wiz is a joyous retelling of L. Frank Baum’s classic children’s novel ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ reflecting contemporary African-American culture. Its 1975 Broadway premiere production won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Matthew Xia said: “The Wiz is approaching its 50th anniversary, it now exists within the canon of mainstream musicals and it’s due time for some bold reinvention. Originally a funk and soul-based analogy for the African-American experience, in 2021 Manchester we’re offering a contemporary take on the discovery of self-determination and Black joy with this celebration of Black culture across the African diaspora.”

Cast: Cherelle Wiliams is Dorothy; Tarik Frimpong, Scarecrow; Llewellyn Graham, Tin Man; Jonathan Andre, Lion; Cameron Bernard Jones, The Wiz; Anelisa Lamola, Addaperle; Bree Smith, Aunt Em & Glinda; Kofi Dennis, Lord High; Ashh Blackwood, Evillene.

Ensemble: Andile Mabhena, Shayna McPherson, Dylan Gordon-Jones, Samantha Shuma, Marisha Morgan.

The show is produced by Hope Mill Theatre, Ameena Hamid Productions & Chuchu Nwagu Productions.

Creative team: Director Matthew Xia; Musical Supervisor and Orchestrations Sean Green; Musical Director Ehsaan Shivarani; Choreographer Leah Hill; Design Simon Kenny; Associate Costume Design Maybelle Laye; Lighting Design Simisola Majekodunmi; Sound Design Tony Gayle; Casting Director Ryan Carter; Casting Mentor Anne Vosser.

Musical Supervisor Sean Green has created new orchestrations. “In thinking about how much the music is loved, I had the thought What if the music was a love letter to black music? I started hearing all sorts of music within the DNA of the score. This exploration has allowed me to incorporate various genres from across the African Diaspora in the new orchestrations which, alongside the funk and soul in the original, really adds depth and colour to the world that we’re creating with this production.”

The Wiz will run from Wednesday 24th November 2021 to Sunday 16th January 2022. https://hopemilltheatre.co.uk/events/the-wiz

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