Ease on Down! Original Cast Members Reunite for Free Central Park The Wiz Concert Tonight | Playbill

News Ease on Down! Original Cast Members Reunite for Free Central Park The Wiz Concert Tonight Phylicia Rashad joins fellow original cast members André De Shields and Dee Dee Bridgewater for the Aug. 12 free concert performance of music from The Wiz in New York's Central Park, to celebrate the show's 40th anniversary.

Dee Dee Bridgewater in The Wiz Photo by Martha Swope

Officially titled "The Wiz: A Celebration in Dance & Music," the event includes performances of original songs and dances from the Tony-winning show, including "Ease on Down the Road," "Home" and "If You Believe." It takes place on the Central Park Summerstage. The concert will be repeated Aug. 13 and 14 in Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem.

Original choreographer George Faison organized the event and recreates his dances for the concert, with musical direction by Damien L. Sneed. For his work on The Wiz, Faison was the first African-American to win a Tony Award for Best Choreography.

How The Wiz Went from Nearly Closing On Opening Night to Becoming a Tony-Winning Hit – Here's What Happened in 1975

Rashad, who played a Munchkin in the chorus of the original Tony Award winning 1975 production, emcees the concert, with performances by De Shields (The Wiz); Tony Award-Winner Bridgewater (Glinda), Ebony Jo-Ann (Addaperle), Wallace Gary (The Scarecrow) and Inaya Day (Dorothy).

Look Back at The Wiz on Broadway

William F. Brown wrote the book for the soulful contemporary retelling of L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." The Wiz also features music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls. The original 1974 production, directed by Geoffrey Holder and choreographed by George Faison, won seven Tony Awards including Best Musical. The premiere Broadway company featured Hinton Battle, Tiger Haynes, Stephanie Mills, Ted Ross, Dee Dee Bridgewater, André De Shields and Mabel King. Diana Ross and Michael Jackson starred in the film version.

SummerStage takes place at Rumsey Playfield; enter Central Park on 69th and Fifth Ave. Marcus Garvey Park is located on Madison Avenue between 120th and 124th Streets. Click here for more information. Seating will begin at 7 PM at both locations. The outdoor performances take place rain or shine.

The show is also headed for a major television production on NBC-TV, titled "The Wiz Live!," on Dec. 3, with another original cast member, Stephanie Mills (Dorothy), taking the role of Aunt Em. Read more about the latest casting here!

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