The Wiz @ 5th Avenue Theatre

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A rainbow-colored poster for The Wiz, with Dorothy and Toto walking on the yellow-brick road.
NOV 19 – DEC 23

📸: The 5th Avenue Theatre

Everybody look around, ’cause there’s a reason to rejoice, you see. It’s The Wiz, the 5th Avenue Theatre’s latest family-geared holiday spectacular

A soul, R&B, and gospel retelling of The Wizard of Oz with an all-Black cast, The Wiz’s original Broadway production won seven of its eight 1975 Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical. Three years later, it became a Sidney Lumet film starring Diana Ross (they aged Dorothy up for the movie to be Harlem schoolteacher), Nipsey Russell, Michael Jackson, Richard Pryor, and Lena Horne.

I spoke with associate artistic director Jay Woods, who also directed last season’s sensational Beauty and the Beast, to get more info on this brand-new production.

“This is the first time The 5th is creating an original staging of The Wiz by an almost entirely local cast that is wildly talented,” Woods said. “It’s great for the whole family and is something to share in community during the holidays.”

The production boasts direction and choreography by Twin Cities-based theatremaker Kelli Foster Warder, who choreographed previous 5th Ave shows Annie (2018) and the stripped-down revival of Flaherty and Ahrens’ Ragtime (2017), one of the most emotionally stirring things I’ve seen on that stage.

 “Warder and her team have dreamed up such a specific and joyous world for this very special production,” Woods concluded. “I hope audiences will be wrapped up in that love and joy. It is certainly a blessing to have this show here in Seattle.”


Marcus Gorman

Marcus Gorman is a Seattle-based playwright and film programmer. He once raised money for a synagogue by marathoning 15 Adam Sandler movies in one weekend. You can find him on Instagram and Twitter @marcus_gorman.