NEW YORK – A 24-year-old triple risk who toured in “Hairspray,” competed on “American Idol” and got here to the eye of casting brokers together with her TikTok movies has landed the plum position of Dorothy within the Broadway-bound manufacturing of “The Wiz.”
Nichelle Lewis will star within the nationwide touring present this fall after which make her Broadway debut subsequent yr because the present’s heel-clicking heroine, following within the footsteps of such icons as Stephanie Mills and Diana Ross.
“It’s been a pretty crazy journey,” she informed The Related Press earlier than her official unveiling Monday. “I’m honored to be making my debut as Dorothy. I know I’m following in some really big footsteps.”
“The Wiz” excursions the U.S. beginning this fall in Baltimore and can land on Broadway in 2024. Lewis joins a forged that features Wayne Brady and Alan Mingo Jr. sharing the position of the Wiz, Deborah Cox as Glinda, Kyle Ramar Freeman because the Lion, Phillip Johnson Richardson because the Tin Man, and Avery Wilson because the Scarecrow.
Lewis, who grew up in Virginia and graduated from Molloy College in 2021, used her modest TikTok account to share her voice — one tune was “Home” from “The Wiz” — and it got here to the eye of casting brokers, who invited her to audition.
“I’m so excited that this is a part of my story, because I feel like there’s so many people out there who started out with such a small following and I feel like they’re hard on themselves about it,” she said. “But I’m like, ‘You never know who’s watching those videos.’ I never knew that ‘The Wiz’ was looking at my videos.”
The present is tailored from “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum, with a guide by William F. Brown, and music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls.
Lewis says she identifies with Dorothy, who’s alone on a journey of self-discovery in a brand new world whereas additionally serving to others alongside the best way discover out who they’re.
“I feel like it’s extremely important for people, especially right now, to see that they can be powerful just by being themselves and just by being individual and unique. So I think that’s how the show speaks to me,” she mentioned.
“The Wiz” opened on Broadway in 1975 and gained seven Tonys, together with greatest musical. It has such traditional songs as “What Would I Do If I Could Feel” and “Ease On Down the Road.” The unique Broadway manufacturing featured Mills as Dorothy, Dee Dee Bridgewater pretty much as good witch Glinda and Andre De Shields because the Wiz.
A 1978 film model of “The Wiz” starred Ross, Lena Horne and Richard Pryor because the Wiz. Michael Jackson co-starred because the Scarecrow, with Nipsey Russell because the Tin Man and Ted Ross because the Lion. NBC televised a stay model in 2015 with Queen Latifah, Ne-Yo and David Alan Grier.
Lewis’ love of music was inspired by her father, who died when she was younger. At his service, she sang “My Help,” a tune he sang when he was a baby, and surprised the congregation.
“I don’t know what happened that day, but I guess just I had this voice come out of me that didn’t used to be there, but probably came from the millions of songs that I grew up listening to,” she says. “I felt like it was something that I could share with others and it was something that I noticed made other people happy.”
Lewis gained a Golden Ticket on the latest collection of “American Idol” however did not progress from the Hollywood spherical. Now she’s earned one other — main a Broadway present.
Her mom, naturally, has been screaming and crying. “She’s like, ‘Your life is going to change.’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t know. It probably will,’’ she says, laughing. ”I really feel so blessed and I’m so glad I get to share it together with her.”
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
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