Playhouse on the Green, Bridgeport's not-for-profit community theater, is pleased to announce that the author of the book to the Tony Award® winning musical The Wiz, William F. Brown of Fairfield, will participate in a post-show Q&A session about the show and his career on Broadway and off on Sunday, April 26, 2009, following the 3PM matinee performance. The Q&A is free to ticket holders for the April 26 matinee. Matt Schicker, Producing Artistic Director of Playhouse on the Green, moderates.
William F. Brown's career in theater includes four shows on Broadway. The Wiz (1975), which ran four and a half years, won 7 Tony Awards and Brown himself was nominated for a Tony for Best Book to a Musical and won a Drama Desk Award. His play The Girl With the Freudian Slip also played Broadway, and he penned the book to the musical A Broadway Musical and was head writer for New Faces of 1968. His Off-Broadway and Regional credits include the books to How to Steal an Election, Damon's Song, Twist, and The Nutley Papers. He provided sketches and lyrics for nine Julius Monk revues at Upstairs at the Downstairs and Plaza Nine, as well as the revues Coconuts, Straight Up with a Twist, Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know, and others. For television, he worked on Jackie Gleason's American Scene Magazine, Max Liebman CBS Specials, World War II: G.I. Diary, and Spies, and provided special material for Joan Rivers, Georgie Kaye, Joey Foreman, Lesley Gore, and Joel Grey, among others. As a syndicated cartoonist, he created the comic strip Boomer for United Feature Syndicate.
The Wiz runs for 10 performances only at Playhouse on the Green, April 24 through May 10, 2009. The 1975 contemporary re-telling of The Wizard of Oz has music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls and book by William F. Brown, who, for this production only, granted permission for the story to be set in Bridgeport. A cast of more than 30 actors, singers, and dancers from the area will portray the familiar characters of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, the Lion, the Wicked Witch of the West, and the rest in this version of L. Frank Baum's classic American tale featuring gospel, soul, and r&b styled music.
Matt Schicker, Producing Artistic Director for Playhouse on the Green, co-directs with Beth Fauerbach, who also choreographs. Eli Newsom and Christy McIntosh are Associate Producers; Kelly Martin is Musical Director; Edward Morris is Set Designer; Michael Jarett is Lighting Designer; David Withrow is Costume Designer; Jim DeVivo is Sound Designer; Natalie Inzero is Production Stage Manager.
The principal cast includes: 13-year-old Rajane' Katurah Brown of Bridgeport as Dorothy, LaWanda Black of Bridgeport as Glinda, Brian Michael Riley of Bridgeport as Lord High Underling, Kitty Robertson of Fairfield as Addaperle, Cameron Phillips of Fairfield as the Scarecrow, Kevin Thompson of Stamford as the Tin Man, Andrew Kepka of Bridgeport as the Lion, Sampson Denny of Bridgeport as The Wiz, and Jessica Ferraday of Milford as Evillene. People's United Bank and the Bridgeport Downtown Special Services District are co-sponsors of The Wiz.
Adult single tickets are $32. Senior Citizens tickets (65 and older) are $29. Tickets for those 21 years and younger are $18. Tickets can be purchased 24/7 on-line at www.playhouseonthegreen.org or by calling TheaterMania at (866) 811-4111 (phone hours 9-9 weekdays, 10-6 weekends).
Playhouse on the Green is located at 177 State Street between Main Street and Markle Court in downtown Bridgeport. Free, secure parking one block from the theater is available. For more information visit www.playhouseonthegreen.org or call 203-333-3666.
Book by William F. Brown
Music and Lyrics by Charlie Smalls