"The Wiz" Reunion: A Brand New Day
'The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical "Wonderful Wizard of Oz"' is a musical with music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls (and others) and book by William F. Brown. It is a retelling of L. Frank Baum's children's novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" (1900) in the context of contemporary African-American culture. It opened on October 21, 1974, at the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore, and moved to Broadway's Majestic Theatre with a new cast on January 5, 1975.
The 1975 Broadway production won 7 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It was an early example of Broadway's mainstream acceptance of works with an all Black cast. It has had revivals in New York, London, San Diego, and the Netherlands.
A big-budget film adaptation of the same name was released in 1978, with Ted Ross and Mabel King reprising their roles, alongside Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Theresa Merritt, Thelma Carpenter, Lena Horne, and Richard Pryor. A live television production of the stage version, "The Wiz Live!", was broadcast on NBC on December 3, 2015.
On June 26, 2017, Broadway Sings for Pride premiered its 7th anniversary benefit concert "Unstoppable" in New York City, at Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. This milestone event was filled with singing (from pop to Broadway), stories, special celebrity guests, and more. Proceeds of the event were donated to Tyler Clementi Foundation and Orlando's Contigo Fund. Broadway Sings for Pride is a multiple award-winning, non-for-profit organization that brings together Broadway talent, activists, and celebrities, to educate the public, raise awareness of the needs of LGBTQ+ youth, and support these young people, so that they may reach their full potential.
The event featured a special cast reunion of "The Wiz", comprising the original Broadway cast and creative team, as well as members of the National Tour, Broadway Revival, 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert, and the live television production. They performed the song "A Brand New Day" during the benefit concert, where Shefik served as Videographer, as well as a featured Speaker.
The reunion included Tony Award winner and choreographer George Faison (Original Broadway), Gayle Turner (Original Broadway), choreographer Lacy Darryl Phillips (National Tour), and Charles Valentino (Broadway Revival).
"A Brand New Day", also known as "Everybody Rejoice", is a song from the 1975 Broadway musical "The Wiz" written by Luther Vandross. It was later featured in the 1978 film version, sung by cast members Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, and Ted Ross (credited as The Wiz Stars).
Given the all Black cast of "The Wiz", the song's many references to freedom and new possibilities certainly invoked the struggles and history of Blacks in America.
Last Updated: April 29, 2022