Encores! will stage musical in summer
“The Wiz” will ease on down to Gotham as the 2009 offering of the Encores! Summer Stars series.Helmer Thomas Kail and choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, who previously collaborated on Tony winner “In the Heights,” will reteam for the tuner. No thesps have been cast. “Wiz” is the third outing from the annual Summer Stars program, whose initial offering in 2007 was the recent production of “Gypsy” that won a handful of Tonys when it moved to Broadway. An African-American take on “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Wiz” ran on the Rialto for more than four years beginning in 1975. Show has a book by William F. Brown and music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls. Another incarnation of “The Wiz,” helmed by Des McAnuff at La Jolla Playhouse in 2006, was tipped for a possible tour or a move to Broadway, but those plans never came together. The Summer Stars program presents tuners in more fully staged productions than the spring Encores! season, which consists of pared-down concert readings. “Wiz” runs June 12-July 3 at City Center, with an opening night set for June 18.
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