Around The Town

Broadway/Off-Broadway Update

The Wiz, Madwomen of the West

By: David Sheward

September 25, 2023: The new production of The Wiz has found a Broadway theater and announced dates. The all-African-American cast will ease on down the road to the Marquis Theater after a national tour which just began at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theater on Sept. 23. Previews at the Marquis begin March 29, 2024 for an April 17 opening. The touring cast will continue onto Broadway with Nellie Lewis as Dorothy, Deborah Cox (Jekyll and Hyde) as Glinda, Melody A. Betts (Waitress) as Aunt Em and Evillene, Kyle Lamar Freedman (A Strange Loop) as the Lion, Philip Johnson Richardson as the Tin Man, and Avery Wilson as the Scarecrow. Wayne Brady (Let’s Make a Deal, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Kinky Boots) will play the Wiz on Broadway with Alan Mingo, Jr. taking on the title role for most of the tour.

Melody A, Betts as Evillene (center) in the revival of “The Wiz”, headed for Broadway. Credit: Jeremy Daniel

The Wiz, Madwomen of the West

By: David Sheward

September 25, 2023: The new production of The Wiz has found a Broadway theater and announced dates. The all-African-American cast will ease on down the road to the Marquis Theater after a national tour which just began at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theater on Sept. 23. Previews at the Marquis begin March 29, 2024 for an April 17 opening. The touring cast will continue onto Broadway with Nellie Lewis as Dorothy, Deborah Cox (Jekyll and Hyde) as Glinda, Melody A. Betts (Waitress) as Aunt Em and Evillene, Kyle Lamar Freedman (A Strange Loop) as the Lion, Philip Johnson Richardson as the Tin Man, and Avery Wilson as the Scarecrow. Wayne Brady (Let’s Make a Deal, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Kinky Boots) will play the Wiz on Broadway with Alan Mingo, Jr. taking on the title role for most of the tour.

Schele Williams directs this revival of the 1975 version of L. Frank Baum’s beloved classic. (She will also be directing the Broadway production of the musical version of The Notebook.) Tony nominee Amber Ruffin (Some Like It Hot) writes additional material to William F. Brown’s original book.  (I wonder if Ruffin will work in Brady’s game-show background. Will the Wiz say, “Okay Dorothy, you brought me Evillene’s broomstick. You can trade it in for the big box or what’s behind the curtain.”) Charlie Smalls’ score won one of the show’s seven 1975 Tony Awards and one of five Drama Desk Awards.

Jobeth Williams

Madwomen of the West: A quartet of film and TV veterans will headline Madwomen of the West by Sandra Tsing Loh at the Actors Temple Theater with previews beginning Nov. 11 for a Dec. 11 opening for a run through Jan. 1, 2024. Caroline Aaron (21 Jump Street, Beyond the Sea), Golden Globe nominee Marilu Henner (Taxi, Evening Shade), Emmy winner Melanie Mayron (thirtysomething, Girlfriends), and Jobeth Williams (Poltergeist, The Big Chill) star under the direction of Thomas Caruso. The plot concerns four friends gathering at a Brentwood mansion for a surprise birthday brunch. 

Loh is the author of The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones, selected for the New York Times’ 100 Most Notable Books. Her previous book Mother on Fire is based on her solo theater piece about the Los Angeles school system. Her other solo shows include Aliens in America, Bad Sex with Bud Kemp, Sugar Plum Fairy, and I Worry.

2023-24 Broadway and Off-Broadway Calendar

Sept. 27–Purlie Victorious (Music Box)

Sept. 28–Melissa Etheridge: My Window (Circle in the Square)

Oct. 3–Jaja’s African Hair Braiding (MTC/Friedman)

Oct. 4–The Refuge Plays (Roundabout/NYTW/Laura Pels)

Oct. 4–DruidO’Casey (Public/NYU Skirball Center)

Oct. 6–Stereophonic (begins previews; opening TBA) (Playwrights Horizons)

Oct. 10–Merrily We Roll Along (Hudson)

Oct. 12–Gutenberg! The Musical (James Earl Jones)

Oct. 16–All the Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented the Villain (DR2)

Oct. 22–Here We Are (The Shed Griffin Theater)

Oct. 29–Translations (Irish Repertory Theater)

Oct. 30–I Can Get It for You Wholesale (CSC)

Nov. 1–Poor Yella Rednecks (MTC/City Center Stage I)

Nov. 2–I Need That (Roundabout/AA)

Nov. 2–Sabbath’s Theater (New Group/Signature Theater)

Nov. 4–Waiting for Godot (begins previews; opening TBA) (TFANA/Polonsky Center)

Nov. 12–Scene Partners (Vineyard Theater)

Nov. 13–Harmony (Barrymore)

Nov. 13–Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Lortel)

Nov. 16–Monty Python’s Spamalot (St. James)

Nov. 19–Hell’s Kitchen (Public)

Nov. 20–The Gardens of Anuncia (LCT/Mitzi Newhouse)

Nov. 24–Lone Star (Ruth Stage/Theater Row)

Nov. 30–Spain (Second Stage/Terry Kiser)

Nov.–Sad Boys in Harpy Land; Amusements; School Pictures (solo shows performed in repertory at Playwrights Horizons)

Winter 2023-24

Dec. 5–Manhatta (Public)

Dec. 10–How To Dance in Ohio (Belasco)

Dec. 11–Madwomen of the West (Actors Temple)

Dec. 12–Buena Vista Social Club (Atlantic Theater Company/Linda Gross)

Dec. 17–The Night of the Iguana (La Femme Theater Prods./Signature Center)

Dec. 18–Appropriate (Second Stage/Hayes)

Jan. 9–Prayer for the French Republic (MTC/Friedman)

Jan. 17–Public Obscenities (previews begin; opening TBA) (TFANA/Polonsky Center)

Jan. 21–Aristocrats (IRT)

Jan. 28–Days of Wine and Roses (Studio 54)

Feb. 8–Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy (Vineyard Theater)

Feb. 21–Teeth (previews begin; opening TBA) (Playwrights Horizons)

Feb. 26–Pericles (previews begin; opening TBA) (CSC)

Feb.–Doubt: A Parable (Roundabout/AA)

Feb.–The Ally (Public)

TBA–Brooklyn Laundry (MTC/City Center Stage I)

TBA–An Enemy of the People

TBA–I Love You So Much I Could Die (NYTW)

TBA–The Seven Year Disappear (The New Group/Signature Center)

Spring 2024

March 14–The Notebook (Schoenfeld)

March 19–Fish (previews begin; opening TBA) (Keen Co./Theater Five) 

March 21–Water for Elephants (Imperial)

March 24–Philadelphia, Here I Come (IRT)

March–Sally and Tom (Public)

April 2–Mary Jane (previews begin; opening TBA) (MTC/Friedman) 

April 5–Macbeth (an undoing) (previews begin; opening TBA) (TFANA/Polonsky Center)

April 11–The Outsiders (Jacobs)

April 12–Staff Meal (previews begin; opening TBA) (Playwrights Horizons)

April 17–The Wiz (Marquis)

April 24–Uncle Vanya (LCT/Vivian Beaumont)

April 25–Mother Play (Second Stage/Hayes)

April–Jordans (Public)

May 2–Wine in the Wilderness (previews begin; opening TBA) (CSC)

June–Cats (Perelman Performing Arts Center)

TBA–All of Me (The New Group/Signature Center)

TBA–Cabaret (August Wilson)

TBA–Here There Are Blueberries (NYTW)

TBA–Home (Roundabout/AA)

TBA–Jonah (Roundabout/Laura Pels)

TBA–Lempicka

Fall 2024

King Lear (Kenneth Branagh Theater Company/The Shed)

2024-25

Smash

Spring 2025

Show Boat (Target Margin/NYU Skirball)

Future–Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death; Beaches the Musical; Black Orpheus; BOOP! The Betty Boop Musical; Come Fall in Love–The DDLJ Musical; Death Becomes Her; The Devil Wears Prada; Ella: An American Miracle; Everybody’s Talking About Jamie; Frida, the Musical; Game of Thrones; The Great Gatsby; The Griswolds’ Broadway Vacation; High Noon; Imitation of Life; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; The Karate Kid; La La Land; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; The Mousetrap; Nancy Drew and the Mystery at Spotlight Manor; Our Town; Pal Joey; Rear Window; The Nanny; The Normal Heart/The Destiny of Me; The Secret Garden; Sing Street; Soul Train; What a Wonderful World; The Who’s Tommy; Working Girl.

2023-24 Broadway Season Breakdown:

New Plays:

The Cottage

Grey House

I Need That

Jaja’s African Hair Braiding

Mother Play

Prayer for the French Republic

The Shark Is Broken

New Musicals:

Back to the Future

Days of Wine and Roses

Harmony

How to Dance in Ohio

Lempicka

The Notebook

Once Upon a One More Time

The Outsiders

Water for Elephants

Play Revivals:

Appropriate

Doubt: A Parable

An Enemy of the People

Home

Mary Jane

Purlie Victorious

Uncle Vanya

Musical Revivals:

Cabaret

Gutenberg! The Musical

Here Lies Love

Merrily We Roll Along

Monty Python’s Spamalot

The Wiz

Solos/Specialties:

Alex Edelman: Just for Us

Melissa Etheridge: My Window