NEW YORK — Remember how Wayne Brady was supposed to be in the upcoming, potentially Broadway-bound production of “The Wiz” at La Jolla Playhouse?
The actor, who was announced at the end of July as one of the topliners of the show along with David Alan Grier in the title role, has pulled out because of the scheduling conflict caused by Brady’s involvement in Simon Cowell’s upcoming TV talent competish, “Duets.” Skein, skedded to air this fall on Fox, pairs celebrities not known for their singing with professional recording stars such as Macy Gray and Cyndi Lauper.
In “The Wiz,” Brady has been replaced by Rashad Naylor, who recently performed in ensemble roles and understudied the character Seaweed in the Rialto production of “Hairspray.” Naylor will take over the role of Scarecrow in director Des McAnuff’s (“Jersey Boys”) revival of the 1975 African-American rethink of “The Wizard of Oz.”
It’s too soon to say if the casting switch will weaken the production’s chances of coming to Broadway, where the legit community already was talking as if “Wiz” were a strong candidate for a La Jolla-Gotham transfer, a la “Jersey Boys.” Cast also includes Nikki M. James as Dorothy, Tituss Burgess as the lion and Michael Benjamin Washington as the tin man.
“The Wiz” kicks off at La Jolla in September.