photo collage from Annie, Fantastics, and Chicago of characters reading news


The Wiz

The Wiz

Cultural Appropriation in The Wiz
In 2006, Phamaly produced a multicultural, multiracial version of The Wiz that did not honor the deep traditions and heritage of the musical.

As a retelling of L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, The Wiz was created as a narrative of the Black experience, from slavery to liberation, being rooted in Black cultural aesthetic, African traditions, and Afro-futurism. Through Black and African dance and music genres like jazz, R&B, soul, spirituals, and Motown, it was and continues to be a celebration of the Black and African diaspora identity. 

Phamaly acknowledges that this heritage was not upheld in its 2006 production. No matter how well-intentioned the company’s aims at the time, Phamaly’s multicultural approach de-centered the aforementioned Black and African traditions of the musical, and thereby reinforced systemic issues of appropriation and erasure of Black identity and experience. 

Phamaly deeply apologizes for this misstep, and is committed to ensuring that authentic cultural traditions, influences, and ownership of historically oppressed communities, including but not limited to the Black and African American community, are honored and uplifted in all future productions.
For more information on Cultural Appropriation, please watch this video.

Book By:
William F. Brown

Music & Lyrics By:
Charlie Smalls

Based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by:
Frank Baum

Directed By:
Steve Wilson

Music Direction By:
Donna Debreceni

Choreography By:
Debbie Stark and Cindy Bray

Cast and Crew

Production Team

Director – Steve Wilson
Choreographers – Debbie Stark & Cindy Bray
Music Director – Donna Debreceni
Set and Lighting Designers – Charles Dean Packard & Jennifer Orf
Sound Designer – Matthew C. Swartz
Props and Specialty Make-up Designer – Todd Debreceni
Costume Designer – Mallory Kay Nelson
Production Manager – Melanie Mayner
Stage Manager – Charlie Miller


Dorothy – Juliet Villa
Scarecrow – Daniel Traylor
Tingirl – Regan Linton
Lion – Don Mauck
Aunt Em – Kathleen Traylor
Evillene – Tara Cowen
Addaperle – Lucy Roucis*
The Wiz – Leonard Barrett Jr.
Glinda – Linda Wirth
Uncle Harry – Don Gabenski
Royal Gatekeeper – Jason Dorwart
Munchkins – Molly Nash, Ry Pruett, Donna Gunnison, Angie Anguilar
Ensemble – Sean McGee, Matt MacCarthy, Allen McCowan, Chaz Jacobson, Katrina Weber, Mark Dissette, Jacob Mundell, Mimi Holmes, Alex Marin, Amber Marsh, Samantha Barrasso, Jenna Bainbridge, Teri Westerman, Kevin Pettit, Leslie Reid, Briana Berthiaume

*Courtesy of Actor’s Equity Association