MJ first preview (Photo by Emilio Madrid)

What’s good fam[ily]? I come with some good news because, like you, I am keeping my eye fixed on progress. To that end, it seems that the 

Broadway community continues to keep its pledge of uplift and to support diversity. Here are a few examples of that promise that enriches us all. 

Broadway was rocking to the tune of the great, late Michael Jackson as newcomer Myles Frost, of Washington, D.C., made his Broadway debut as Michael Jackson, and those that witnessed the first performances reported that the young star received multiple standing ovations.

Remember fam[ily] this is a musical about one of the greatest entertainers to ever grace a stage — Micheal Jackson and when the curtain was raised at the Neil Simon Theatre for the first preview of one of the most anticipated musicals in recent Broadway history: MJ the ripple effect was felt. The cast has 12 Broadway debuts (not too shabby) and the sold-out audience was filled with fans who traveled from all over the United States (plus Europe, Canada, Mexico, and Asia) to witness this first performance. The production will continue in previews and will have an official opening night on Tuesday, February 1, 2022.

There is plenty of reasons to be excited about MJ because the book is written by two-time Pulitzer Prize® winner Lynn Nottage with a score made up of some of the best-loved, top-selling songs in recording history. Tony Award-winner Christopher Wheeldon directs and choreographs.  The production features scenic design by Tony Award winner Derek McLane, lighting design by Tony Award winner Natasha Katz, costume design by Tony Award winner Paul Tazewell, sound design by Olivier Award-winner Gareth Owen, projection design by Peter Nigrini, hair & wig design by Charles Lapointe, musical supervision/orchestration/arrangements by David Holcenberg, and musical direction/orchestrations / arrangements by Jason Michael Webb. 

MJ is produced by Lia Vollack Productions and The Estate of Michael Jackson.

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“Wicked”

And in the world of WICKED, Ms. Brittney Johnson will take over the role of Glinda in the Broadway blockbuster, beginning performances on February 14, 2022, at Broadway’s Gershwin Theatre (222 West 51st Street). 

Currently the Glinda standby, Ms. Johnson will be the first African-American actress to assume the role of Glinda. 

I confess, I’ve never seen the musical (yet) but WICKED looks at what happened in the Land of Oz…but from a different angle.  Long before Dorothy arrives, there is another young woman, born with emerald-green skin, who is smart, fiery, misunderstood, and possessing an extraordinary talent. When she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their initial rivalry turns into the unlikeliest of friendships…until the world decides to call one “good,” and the other one “wicked.”

Ms. Johnson will assume the role of Glinda opposite Lindsay Pearce as Elphaba, Alexandra Billings as Madame Morrible, Michael McCormick as The Wizard, Sam Gravitte as Fiyero, Jordan Barrow as Boq, Mili Diaz as Nessarose, and Michael X. Martin as Doctor Dillamond.  Johnson has appeared on Broadway in LES MISÉRABLES (Éponine), MOTOWN, SUNSET BOULEVARD, BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL, and KRISTIN CHENOWETH: FOR THE GIRLS.

WICKED is the 5th longest-running show in Broadway history and the winner of over 100 international awards including the Grammy Award and three Tony Awards with a thrilling score that includes the hits “Defying Gravity,” “Popular” and “For Good,” WICKED has been hailed by The New York Times as “the defining musical of the decade,” and by Time Magazine as “a magical Broadway musical with brains, heart, and courage.”  NBC Nightly News calls the hit musical “the most successful Broadway show ever.” 

WICKED is based on the novel by Gregory Maguire with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, and a book by Winnie Holzman.   

And in March (Friday, March 4, 2022, with the opening night set for Thursday, March 24th, 2022) Broadway will welcome a fully reimagined production of Ntozake Shange’s groundbreaking for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, directed and choreographed by Tony Award nominee Camille A. Brown (ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, CHOIR BOY, co-director and choreographer of FIRE SHUT UP IN MY BONES) which are now on sale for the general public on www.telecharge.com.

Performances will begin at Broadway’s Booth Theatre (222 West 45th Street), home to the original 1976 production, on Friday, March 4, 2022, with the opening night set for Thursday, March 24th, 2022. Casting will be announced at a later date.  

The show marks Camille A. Brown’s directorial debut on Broadway. Brown, who served as choreographer on the Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama Desk award-winning 2019 production of the play at The Public Theater, will also continue in her role as choreographer on Broadway, making her the first Black woman to serve as both director and choreographer on a Broadway production in more than 65 years.  

Black girl magic is reborn. Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf is the “landmark of American theater” (The New York Times) that blazed a trail for generations to come. Now, this celebration of the power of Black womanhood returns to Broadway for the first time, reinvented, directed, and choreographed by “a true superstar of theater and dance” (NPR), Tony AwardÒ nominee Camille A. Brown. And her vision is as fearlessly new as it is fiercely now.

Join the circle as seven women share their stories and find strength in each other’s humor and passion through a fusion of poetry, dance, music, and song that explodes off the stage and resonates with all. It’s time for joy. It’s time for sisterhood. It’s time for colored girls.

For more information about WICKED, please visit www.WickedTheMusical.com.

Follow WICKED on Twitter: @WICKED_Musical, Instagram: @wicked_musical, TikTok: @wicked_musical, and Facebook.

For more information, visit www.forcoloredgirlsbway.com. 

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