Hope Mill Theatre has announced that this Christmas it will stage the first new UK production of The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical “Wonderful Wizard of Oz” in 10 years. With music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls, book by William F. Brown and original orchestrations by Harold Wheeler, The Wiz is a retelling of L. Frank Baum’s classic children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
This new production will be directed by Actor’s Touring Theatre’s Artistic Director and previous Royal Exchange Associate Artistic Director Matthew Xia, Musical Supervision and Orchestrations by Sean Green and Choreography by Leah Hill.
Hope Mill Theatre are also thrilled to be co-producing alongside producer Ameena Hamid and bringing on board Assistant Producer ChuChu Nwagu, bringing vital voices to this important and genre defining musical.
Director Matthew Xia said:
“I can’t wait to return to Manchester, my former home, to create the all singing all dancing extravaganza that is The Wiz at the exceptional Hope Mill Theatre. We’re pulling together an outstanding team including musical supervisor Sean Green and choreographer Leah Hill to reimagine this classic funk, soul (and now afrobeat!) infused story of self-discovery, determination and Black joy. Everybody rejoice!”
The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical “Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is a joyous modern retelling of L. Frank Baum’s classic children’s story reflecting contemporary African-American culture. After Dorothy gets swept up in a tornado, she finds herself in the fantastical world of Oz. There, she makes new friends, battles evil witches, and seeks the aid of the all-powerful and mysterious Wiz. Ultimately, Dorothy finds that, if you believe with all your heart, you can always find your way home. With an infectious soul score, dynamic numbers, and endearing cast of characters, The Wiz is a joyous explosion of music, dance, magic, and heart to delight audience members of all ages.
The 1975 Broadway production won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It has since had revivals in New York, London, San Diego, and the Netherlands, and a limited-run revival was presented by Encores! at New York City Center in June 2009. A big-budget film adaptation of the same name was released in 1978, with Ted Ross and Mabel King reprising their roles. A live television production of the stage version, The Wiz Live!, was broadcast on NBC on December 3, 2015, with an encore presentation on December 19 of the same year.