Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang Photos and Video: Behind the Scenes with THE WIZ’s André De Shields at The Wiz is 40 at #Summerstage30

Ebony Jo-Ann, André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater and George Faison after the #summerstageis30 performance of #thewizis40 at Rumsey Playfield in New York on August 12, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Ebony Jo-Ann, André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater and George Faison after the #summerstageis30 performance of #thewizis40 at Rumsey Playfield in New York on August 12, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

SUMMERSTAGE 30 PRESENTS!

A FAISON FIREHOUSE THEATER/APAC, INC. PRODUCTION

THE WIZ IS 40

A CELEBRATION IN DANCE & SONG

George Faison & Tad Schnugg, Producers

Last night, I eased on down the Yellow Brick Road to Summerstage at Rumsey Playfield, to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the The Wiz on Broadway.

Phylicia Rashad and George Faison co-emceed The Wiz is 40 at Rumsey Playfield, Summerstage in New York on August 12, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Phylicia Rashad and George Faison co-emceed The Wiz is 40 at Rumsey Playfield, Summerstage in New York on August 12, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Co-host/emcee Tony Award-winner (and Munchkin from the original Broadway run!) Phylicia Rashad. Photo by Lia Chang

Co-host/emcee Tony Award-winner (and Munchkin from the original Broadway run!) Phylicia Rashad. Photo by Lia Chang

Choreographed by Tony Award-winner George Faison with musical direction by Damien L. Sneed, The Wiz: A Celebration in Dance and Music featured co-host/emcee Tony Award-winner (and Munchkin from the original Broadway run!) Phylicia Rashad; Two-time Tony nominee André De Shields reprising his role as The Wiz; Tony Award-Winner Dee Dee Bridgewater reprising her role for as Glinda; Ebony Jo-Ann in the role of Addaperle; Garry Q. Lewis as The Scarecrow; Inaya Day  and Darlesia Cearcy as Dorothy; Nicole Elaine Phifer as Evillene, Reji Woods as The Lion, John Manzari as The Tin Man and Anitra McKinney as Aunt Em.

Below André De Shields sings So You Wanted to Meet the Wizard.

John Manzari as The Tinman, Garry Q Lewis as The Scarecrow, Darlesia Cearcy as Dorothy and Reji Woods as The Lion. Photo by Lia Chang

John Manzari as The Tinman, Garry Q Lewis as The Scarecrow, Darlesia Cearcy as Dorothy and Reji Woods as The Lion. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast also included Elijah Avraham, Jahmal Chase, Raymond Matsamura, Nahum McLean, Martell Ruffin Nehemiah Spencer, Jerome Wells, Khalia Campbell, Priscilla Greco, Aqura Lacey, Krystal Mackie, Mahalia Mays, Briana Nuamah, Amber Pickens and Bria Williams.

Ebony Jo-Ann as Addapearle, Darlesia Cearcy as Dorothy and the Munchkins in The Wiz is 40 at Rumsey Playfield, Summerstage in New York on August 12, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Ebony Jo-Ann as Addapearle, Darlesia Cearcy as Dorothy and the Munchkins in The Wiz is 40 at Rumsey Playfield, Summerstage in New York on August 12, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

PIT SINGERS: Chenee Campbell Kojo Littles, Matia Washington and Darrell Williams.

KEYBOARDS: Edward Callahan,  Jeremy Jordan

Assistants to Mr. Faison: Gina Ellis, David Robertson

Production Stage Manager: Gwen Gilliam

Dance Arranger/Musical Supervisor: Timothy Graphenreed

Inaya Day as Dorothy and Reji Woods as The Lion in The Wiz is 40 at Rumsey Playfield, Summerstage in New York on August 12, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Inaya Day as Dorothy and Reji Woods as The Lion in The Wiz is 40 at Rumsey Playfield, Summerstage in New York on August 12, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Don’t miss De Shields and the extraordinary cast tonight and tomorrow in the free concerts at Summerstage, Marcus Garvey Park, W. 122nd St. and Mt. Morris Park West in New York.  Showtime is at 7pm. Click here for more information and check back for my highlights of the night.

André De Shields as The Wiz in The Wiz is 40 at Rumsey Playfield, Summerstage in New York on August 12, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields as The Wiz in The Wiz is 40 at Rumsey Playfield, Summerstage in New York on August 12, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

TO DONATE OR SECURE RESERVED VIP SEATS PLEASE VISIT THE CAMPAIGN BY CLICKING:

http://www.gofundme.com/The-Wiz-2015

 Nicole Elaine Phifer as Evilene in The Wiz is 40 at Rumsey Playfield, Summerstage in New York on August 12, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Nicole Elaine Phifer as Evilene in The Wiz is 40 at Rumsey Playfield, Summerstage in New York on August 12, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields at The Wiz is 40 at Rumsey Playfield, Summerstage in New York on August 12, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields at The Wiz is 40 at Rumsey Playfield, Summerstage in New York on August 12, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

George Faison. Photo by Lia Chang

George Faison. Photo by Lia Chang

George Faison, internationally celebrated producer, writer, composer, director, choreographer and dancer, made history in 1975 when he became the first African American to win a Tony Award for Best Choreography for The Wiz. In honor of the Broadway hit’s 40th anniversary this year, Faison presented performances of original songs and dances from the show. Mr. Faison also heads the Faison Firehouse Theater in Central Harlem, which he founded in 2000 along with Tad Schnugg.The Firehouse is a technologically advanced theater where Mr. Faison develops digital applications for the performing arts as well as original theater pieces. The 130-seat theater, branded “Hollywood of Harlem” by the media, is a full service performing arts and cultural center with fine arts galleries, rehearsal facilities and a cabaret theater. faisonfirehouse.org

One of the first large-scale, big-budget Broadway musicals to star an all-black cast, The Wiz features music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls and book by William F. Brown. It is a retelling of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in the context of African-American culture.

Actor André De Shields (C) w. cast in a scene fr. the Broadway musical

Actor André De Shields (C) w. cast in a scene fr. the Broadway musical “The Wiz”. (c.1974) Photo by Martha Swope courtesy of THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY DIGITAL COLLECTIONS

The Wiz opened on October 21, 1974 at the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland, and on January 5, 1975, moved to the Majestic Theatre on Broadway with Geoffrey Holder at the helm.

Actors (Front L-R) Clarice Taylor, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ted Ross & Tiger Haynes w. cast in a scene fr. the Broadway musical

Actors (Front L-R) Clarice Taylor, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ted Ross & Tiger Haynes w. cast in a scene fr. the Broadway musical “The Wiz”.( c.1974) Photo by Martha Swope courtesy of THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY DIGITAL COLLECTIONS

The cast starred Stephanie Mills as Dorothy, Hinton Battle as the Scarecrow, Tiger Haynes as the Tin Man, Ted Ross as the Lion, Dee Dee Bridgewater as Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, André De Shields as the Wizard, Mabel King as Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West, Clarice Taylor as Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North, Tasha Thomas as Aunt Em, Ralph Wilcox as Uncle Henry and Phylicia Rashād as a Munchkin.

Actors (L-R) Clarice Taylor, Stephanie Mills & Phylicia Rashad (rear) in a scene fr. the Broadway musical

Actors (L-R) Clarice Taylor, Stephanie Mills & Phylicia Rashad (rear) in a scene fr. the Broadway musical “The Wiz”. (c.1974) Photo by Martha Swope courtesy of THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY DIGITAL COLLECTIONS

The 1975 Broadway production garnered seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score for Charlie Smalls, Best Featured Actor in a Musical – Ted Ross, Best Featured Actress in a Musical – Dee Dee Bridgewater, Best Costume Design For Geoffrey Holder, Best Choreography for George Faison, Best Direction of a Musical for Geoffrey Holder; and five Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Music and Lyrics for Charlie Smalls, Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical – Ted Ross, Outstanding Choreography for George Faison, Outstanding Costume Design for Geoffrey Holder.

The Broadway production moved to The Broadway Theatre on May 25, 1977, and closed on January 28, 1979, after four years and 1,672 performances.

Geoffrey Holder, Artist, Actor, Dancer, Choreographer, Two-Time Tony Award-winning Director and Costume Designer for The Wiz, Dies at 84; Son Pens Intimate Account of Last Days

THE WIZ Turns 40- Photos from Original Broadway Production and BC/EFA Gypsy of The Year Celebration Featuring André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ken Page, Charl Brown, Carly Hughes, Christina Sajous, Alton Fitzgerald White, Lillias White and More

Photos and Video: The Wiz’s André De Shields sang “So You Wanted to Meet the Wizard” as part of The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream at Carnegie Hall  

For complete series lineup, please visit SummerStage.org

PLEASE NOTE: SummerStage shows take place outdoors and take place RAIN OR SHINE. Shows are only cancelled in the event of what event organizers consider to be dangerous winds or lightning. Schedule of events and performers is subject to change. The following cannot be brought into the Central Park venue: glass bottles, cans, coolers, folding chairs, bikes, rollerblades, skateboards, beach umbrellas, video cameras, selfie sticks, professional camera gear, tripods or pets. SummerStage is not responsible for prohibited items left outside the venue. Bags subject to search. Alcoholic beverages are forbidden in NYC Parks. The distribution and sale of unauthorized promotional materials is banned. Beer and wine are on sale at the Central Park venue for onsite consumption only. Smoking is prohibited in all NYC parks.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

The Wiz articles:
Broadwayworld.com: Photo Flash: Phylicia Rashad, Andre De Shields & More Original Cast Members from THE WIZ Reunite in Central Park!
André De Shields, Phylicia Rashad, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ebony Jo-Ann, Inaya Day, Reji Woods and More set for THE WIZ is 40: A Celebration in Dance and Music at SummerStage in Central Park on 8/12; Marcus Garvey Park on 8/13, 8/14
THE WIZ: A Celebration in Dance and Music featuring André De Shields, Phylicia Rashad, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ebony Jo-Ann, Inaya Day and more at SummerStage in Central Park on 8/12; Marcus Garvey Park on 8/13, 8/14
Kenny Leon Helmed ‘The Wiz’ Set as NBC’s Next Live Musical to air on Dec. 3; Broadway Revival Slated for 2016-17
THE WIZ Turns 40- Photos from Original Broadway Production and BC/EFA Gypsy of The Year Celebration Featuring André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ken Page, Charl Brown, Carly Hughes, Christina Sajous, Alton Fitzgerald White, Lillias White and More
Photos: André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ken Page, Charl Brown, Carly Hughes, Alton Fitzgerald White, Lillias White in 40th Anniversary of The WIZ Tribute at BC/EFA’s GYPSY OF THE YEAR; Competition Breaks Records With Over $5 Million as Hugh Jackman’s THE RIVER Brings in Top Donation
Geoffrey Holder, Artist, Actor, Dancer, Choreographer, Two-Time Tony Award-winning Director and Costume Designer for The Wiz, Dies at 84; Son Pens Intimate Account of Last Days

Other articles about André De Shields:
André De Shields in CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P., Black Stars of the Great White Way anniversary concert at NBTF and Broadway-Bound GOTTA DANCE 
Multimedia: CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. Opening Night with André De Shields; #Ignition Festival Continues through July 19
Video: André De Shields sings Smile in CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. in Victory Gardens’ 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays
Video: André De Shields sings Street Corner Symphony and Mary Mack in CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. in Victory Gardens’ 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays
Photo and Video Preview: Two-time Tony nominee André De Shields Kicks Off Victory Gardens’ 2015 Ignition Festival of New Plays with CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P
Two-time Tony nominee André De Shields, GREY’S ANATOMY star Sandra Oh, Kimberly Lawson, Donica Lynn, Tony Mhoon, Doug Peck, Robert Reddrick, Anjali Bhimani and More set for 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays at Victory Gardens Theater, July 16-19
Two-Time Tony nominee André De Shields, Tony Winner Lillias White, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK’s Lori Tan Chinn, Stephanie Powers, Georgia Engel & More Will Lead Broadway-Bound Musical GOTTA DANCE in Chicago
tcgcircle.org THE GRAND ILLUSION by ANDRÉ DE SHIELDS in FOX FELLOWSHIPS
Click here for more articles on André De Shields.

Other Articles
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Partying at the Closing Night Screening of Wong Fu Productions’ EVERYTHING BEFORE US; AAIFF 2015 Award Winners Announced
AsAmNews.com: Asian American Tweeters Get Special Shout-out in Playbill
Playbill.com: Retweet! BroadwayGirlNYC’s Picks For Most Useful Theatre Women on Social Media
AsAmNews.com:Playing Hide And Seek With Actress Lia Chang
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA Cast Reunion featured in BLACK BELT MAGAZINE August/September 2015
Drumhead Magazine: Living Colour Drummer Will Calhoun, Photos by Lia Chang 
AsAmNews.com: A Chat with Broadway’s New King of Siam, Jose Llana
AsAmNews.com: Award-winning Filmmaker Jennifer Phang’s Sci-Fi Film ‘Advantageous’ Available on Netflix and iTunes
AsAmNews.com: Lunch with Tony Winner Lea Salonga and George Takei, Stars of ALLEGIANCE
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Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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