News

Announcing the Cast & Creative Team of The Wiz!

The Wiz Cast

Winner of 7 Tony Awards, including Best Musical & Best Score

The Wiz

Book by William F. Brown
Music and Lyrics by Charlie Smalls
From the story “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum

 Directed by Dawn M. Simmons
Music Director, Allyssa Jones
Choreography by Jean Appolon

 May 18 – June 24, 2018

 “Radiates so much energy you can hardly sit in your seat!”  — NY Post

A soulful retelling of L. Frank Baum’s beloved The Wonderful Wizard of OzThe Wiz combines fairy-tale glamour with street smarts to make a classic fantasy sparkle for today.  And our directors and choreographer will bring a blast of New Orleans Creole magic to this production!  Winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Score, The Wiz ingeniously mixes rock, gospel, soul, and jazz, and features hits like “Ease on Down the Road,” “A Brand New Day,” and “Home.”

FEATURING:

Soneka Anderson, Elle Borders*, Brandon G. Green*, Steven Martin, Davron S. Monroe*, Yewande O. Odetoyinbo*, Juanita Pearl, Pier Lamia Porter, Carolyn Saxon*, Damon Singletary, Salome Smith, Lance-Patrick Strickland.

Scenic Design, Baron E. Pugh
Costume Design, Amber Voner
Lighting Design, Jen Rock
Sound Design, Rachel Neubauer

 *Member of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA)

CAST:

Dorothy                                                    Salome Smith
The Wiz/Ensemble                                   Davron S. Monroe*
Tin Man                                                    Steven Martin
Lion                                                          Brandon G. Green*
Scarecrow                                                Elle Borders*
Aunt Em/Glinda                                       Carolyn Saxon*
Addaperle/Evilene                                   Yewande Odetoyinbo*
Uncle Henry/Ensemble                            Damon Singletary
Ensemble                                                 Soneka Anderson
                                                                Juanita Pearl
                                                                Pier Lamia Porter
                                                                Lance-Patrick Strickland

WHEN:  May 18 – June 24, 2018

Wednesdays, Thursdays – 7:30pm
Wednesday matinees – 2pm, May 23 and June 6
Fridays – 8pm
Saturdays – 3pm & 8pm
Sundays – 3pm

Post-show Q&A with the artists:  May 20 and June 3, after the 3pm performance

WHERE:      The Lyric Stage, 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA  02116

TICKETS:   Start at $25

Soneka Anderson (Ensemble) is making her Lyric Stage debut.  Hailing from the metro Detroit area, Soneka earned her B.F.A. in musical theater from Howard University and has been based in DC ever since. Her past credits include Mirandy and Brother Wind (Adventure Theatre), The Servant of Two Masters (Shakespeare Theatre Company), and Shear Madness (Kennedy Center).

Elle Borders* (Scarecrow) is making her Lyric Stage debut. Her recent credits include Sista Gurl in the staged reading of The Puppet ShowA Midsummer Night’s Dream, the world premiere of How Soft the LiningAn Octoroon, and Othello. She has had the privilege of working with Boston Public Works, Sleeping Weazel, 3050 Music Group, Collective, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, and Company One in addition to numerous readings and workshops with the Huntington Theatre and The Front Porch Arts Collective. Ms. Borders studied with the Atlantic Theatre Company and holds a B.F.A. in Drama from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. All my love to my family and my #2.

Brandon G. Green* (Lion) is a Boston-based artist and educator from Selma, Al. Previous Lyric Stage credits: Mr. Burns, a post-electric play and Intimate Apparel. Boston-area credits include work with Company One, Arts Emerson, Commonwealth Shakespeare, SpeakEasy Stage, The Front Porch Arts Collective, Fresh Ink, 3050 Music Group, Brand New Classic, Cape Rep, and Nora/Underground Railway. Brandon was the recipient of the Elliot Norton Award for Best Actor for his performance in Company One’s production of An Octoroon. As a writer, he is working towards a workshop production of his one-man show, UM, and developing a comedy series with his wife and co-conspirator, Elle Borders. As an educator, Brandon teaches theatre at Brandeis University, MIT, and various Boston Public Schools through Daniel Beaty’s I Dream Project. B.A., Alabama State, M.F.A. Brandeis University.  ILYLWF.

Steven Martin (Tin Man) is making his Lyric Stage debut.  In New England, Steven has appeared with SpeakEasy Stage, Moonbox Productions, Blue Spruce Theatre, Play More Productions, and the Footlight Club.  Recent productions: The Scottsboro BoysThe Wild PartyA Pint of UnderstandingUp Where We BelongParadeOnce On This Island, L’Elisir d’amoreThe Rape of Lucretia,and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Steven is a proud graduate of UNC-Greensboro and The Boston Conservatory.

Davron S. Monroe* (The Wiz/Ensemble) is returning to the Lyric Stage after having appeared in Camelot, Company, My Fair Lady, City of Angels, Sweeney Todd, One Man, Two Guvnors, The Mikado, Avenue Q, and Ain’t Misbehavin’.  Musical theatre credits include The Little Mermaid (Company Theatre), Man of La Mancha (New Rep), Godspell (Moonbox Productions), Hairspray (Reagle Music Theatre), Dreamgirls, Jesus Christ Superstar, Children of Eden, Songs for a New World (premiere, Key West Symphony, Broadway Across America), Smokey Joe’s Café, Cinderella, Streakin’!, a ’70s musical revue,  Sweet Charity, Brigadoon, and Show Boat.  Cabaret: The All Night Strut. Opera:  fully staged or concert/scene productions of Carmen, Treemonisha, Porgy and Bess, La finta giardiniera, Rigoletto,  Lucia di Lammermoor, La fille du régiment,  L’élisir d’amore,  Così fan tutte, Die Fledermaus, The Tailor of Gloucester, The Gondoliers, Aida, and Die Zauberflöte. Mr. Monroe premiered the role of Thomas Edison in Juventas’s New Music Group production of Light and Power.  He has also appeared with many orchestral and vocal organizations, such as Boston Landmarks Orchestra (Lost in the Stars – a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech, and The Chariot Jubilee), the First Church UU, Belmont, the Brevard Music Center (finalist, Orlando Opera’s Heinz Rehfuss Singing Actor Awards), Disney Entertainment’s Voices of Liberty, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Key West Symphony (young artist), Houston Ebony Opera Guild, the New England Spiritual Ensemble, New England Voices, the Longy School Orchestra, and many other organizations throughout the greater Boston area.  Davron is the first recipient of the Bob Jolly Award for up-and-coming local actors.

Yewande Odetoyinbo* (Addaperle/Evilene), a native of Detroit, MI, is making her Lyric Stage debut. She is a proud graduate of Howard University, where she earned a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre and became a member of Sigma Alpha Iota. She also, holds a shiny new M.F.A. in Musical Theatre Performance from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Some of her favorite performances include roles in Fannie Lou at Carnegie Hall, the national tour of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds with Adventure Theatre, Trav’lin: The 1930s Harlem Musical (Seven Angels Theatre,Waterbury, CT), Show Boat (Reagle Music Theatre and Fiddlehead Theatre), and In The Heights and Seussical at Wheelock Family Theatre. She has most recently been seen in various staged readings with The Front Porch Arts Collective and at Goodspeed Opera House.  It is her lifelong dream not only to perform and teach theatre to inner city youth, but also to open up a performing arts school in Nigeria. She thanks the Lord for His many blessings and her family and friends for their love and support. She would also like to thank Dawn, Allyssa, Jean and her fabulous new Lyric Stage family. Ase!

Juanita Pearl (Ensemble) is making her Lyric Stage debut. She is an alum of Pace University’s Performing Arts Program and a Boston native. Since her return to Boston, Juanita has danced with local dance companies including Tribe Inc., Adrienne Hawkins’ Impulse Dance Company, and Phunk Phenomenon and recently choreographed for OnStage Dance Company. Recent credits include All Shook Up (Priscilla Beach Theatre) as well as choreographing The Wiz at Eastern Nazarene College.  JuanitaPearl.com

Pier Lamia Porter (Ensemble) is making her Lyric Stage debut.  She most recently appeared in Beauty and Beast (Wheelock Family Theater) and To Kill a Mockingbird (Emerson Umbrella). A classically trained singer, she holds a B.M. from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Other credits include Chicago (Vokes Theater), American Idiot (Stadium Theater), Hairspray (Norwood Theater), and The Wild Party (Emerson Umbrella).

Carolyn Saxon* (Aunt Em/Glinda) is making her Lyric Stage debut. Broadway/National Tours/NY Theatre: The Civil War, Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk, Hair, Purlie, Can-Can, Timmy the Great, Linda Eder: The Christmas Concert, NY International Fringe Festival Film: Sweet & Lowdown, Small Time Crooks, Curse of the Jade Scorpion. Boston credits include Shakespeare in Love, Violet, The Color Purple, In The Heights (IRNE Nomination), Far From Heaven (SpeakEasy Stage), The Hairy Scary (Outside the Box Festival). Regional credits include North Shore Music Theatre, Connecticut Repertory, Papermill Playhouse, Studio Arena Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Weston Playhouse, Forestburgh Playhouse, Artpark, MusicalFare, Struthers Library Theatre. Other: Boston Pops Gospel Choir, Carnegie Hall, Indianapolis Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Sharing A New Song, NEC Millennium Choir.

Damon Singletary (Uncle Henry/Ensemble) is returning to the Lyric Stage having been previously seen in Peter and the Starcatcher and City of Angels. Some of his other recent credits include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Shakespeare in Love (SpeakEasy Stage), Eight by Tenn and Desire (Zeitgeist Stage Company), The Real Inspector Hound (Bad Habit Productions). Other favorite Boston area stage appearances include Company One, Boston Actors Theater, Roxbury Repertory Theater, and Titanic Theatre Company. Supportive of fringe theater, new works, and emerging artists, Damon has also participated in numerous workshops, readings, and devised pieces in and around the Boston area, including working with Boston Actors Theater, Fresh Ink, and Heart and Dagger Productions. Damon is a member of StageSource and Boston Actors Theater, and he lives in Cambridge with his wife Laurie (also an actor) and their teenage son Sterling.

Salome B. Smith (Dorothy) from Birmingham, Alabama is making her Lyric Stage debut.  She studied at Alabama State University receiving her B.A. in Theatre and is now a recent graduate from Boston Conservatory at Berklee with a M.F.A. in Musical Theatre. Her recent credits include Carousel, Theory of Relativity (Boston Conservatory), and various staged readings including Five Points (Goodspeed Opera House) and Glittering Eyes (The Front Porch Arts Collective).  Some of her favorite credits are The Color Purple, Rent, Dreamgirls, and The Piano Lesson (Leila Barlow Theatre).

Lance-Patrick Strickland (Ensemble) is making his Lyric Stage debut. He is a graduate of Boston Conservatory with a B.F.A. in Musical Theater. Some of his previous Boston credits include Carousel (Reagle Music Theater), Catch Me if You Can (Boston Conservatory), In the Heights (Wheelock Family Theater), and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Wheelock Family Theater). He would like to thank his family and friends for always giving him endless encouragement in all of his endeavors.

Dawn M. Simmons (Director) returns to the Lyric Stage where she directed Warrior Class and Saturday Night/Sunday Morning. Recent directing credits include The Irish and How They Got That Way (Greater Boston Stage Company) and Men on Boats (SpeakEasy Stage). Other regional directing credits include Commonwealth Shakespeare’s Apprentice Program, Bad Habit Productions, Boston Public Works, New Exhibition Room, Suffolk University, Fresh Ink Theatre, GAN-e-meed Theatre Project, The Theater Offensive, Our Place Theatre Project, Mill 6 and Fort Point Theatre Channel. Dawn is Artistic Director of The Front Porch Arts Collective, Co-Artistic Director of New Exhibition Room, Director of Performing Arts at Boston Center for the Arts, and a proud Board Member at StageSource.

Allyssa Jones (Music Director) returns to the Lyric Stage for a third turn, following Intimate Apparel and Mr. Burns. An inaugural recipient of The Boston Foundation’s Live Arts Boston grant, Allyssa has created music and/or sound and music directed for Revolt, We Are Proud to Present a Presentation, Grimm/Cry Baby Jones, Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (Company One), Invasion/¡Bocón!, Peggy Pickett Sees the Face of God (Apollinaire Theatre Company), Turtles (Boston Public Works), Hidden Faces of Courage (OWLL Theatre Company), and Les Misérables (Riverside Theatre Works). Notable projects include original scores for the film Knockaround Kids (ADEkoje Filmwerks), the musical Brother Nat (written by Jabari and Liana Asim), and her own musical The Puppet Show. In addition to her theatrical work, Allyssa is a singer/songwriter with five solo releases and two decades of appearances under her belt. Keep up with Ms. Jones at msjonesmusic.com.

Jean Appolon (Choreographer) is a successful choreographer and master teacher based in Boston and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He received his earliest training and performance opportunities in Port-au-Prince with the Viviane Gauthier Dance Company, and the Folkloric Ballet of Haiti. Appolon continued his dance education in the U.S. with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Joffrey American Ballet School, graduating with a BA in 2003 from a joint degree program at The New School. Jean is the founder and Director of Jean Appolon Expressions (JAE), a contemporary Haitian dance company that has performed at major venues throughout the US and in Haiti. Since 2006, he has directed a free annual summer dance institute in Port-au-Prince that provides young, aspiring dancers with access to training. His dance classroom provides a positive and reaffirming atmosphere in which every student is regarded as artistic, and is empowered to be passionate about dance and caring for the community.

Baron E. Pugh (Scenic Design) is a scenic design M.F.A. candidate at Boston University. Select credits include The Clean House (Threshold Stage Company), Driving Miss Daisy (Barnstormers Theatre), God’s Ear, Faithless, Ghosts, The Hothouse, The Merchant of Venice, La Tragédie de Carmen (Boston University), The Triumph of LoveRomeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey – Next Stage Ensemble). BaronPughDesign.com

Amber Voner (Costume Design) is a Boston-based makeup, hair, and wig designer for theater and film. Amber returns to the Lyric Stage having designed Barbeque, Fast Company, and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark. Her area credits include White Card, Waitress, Porgy & Bess (American Repertory Theater), Sleep Beauty, The Nutcracker (Boston Ballet), Titanic, Guys & Dolls, Merrily We Roll Along (Emerson Stage), The Tempest, School for Scandal, Henry the VI, Part 2, Henry VIII (Actors Shakespeare Project), and T Party, Wig Out, (Company One). Amber received her B.F.A. in Theatre Design/Technology from Emerson College, is passionate about “green beauty”, and teaches a makeup artistry course at UMass Boston. She can also be found educating in Follain’s Boston locations, a healthy beauty store. ambervoner.com

Jen Rock (Lighting Design) returns to the Lyric Stage after designing Barbecue in 2017.  Based in Connecticut, Jen is the Professor of Lighting Design at Eastern Connecticut State University.  As a freelance designer, Jen has worked Off-Broadway and around Southern New England in a variety of professional and academic theatres.  Her work includes credits at Actors’ Shakespeare Project, SpeakEasy Stage, Company One, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, The Brown University/ Trinity Rep Consortium, The University of Rhode Island, and Providence College.  Jen is the recipient of two Elliot Norton Awards for Excellence in Design and is the Resident Designer for Crossroads Repertory Theatre in Terre Haute, Indiana. jenrockdesign.com

Rachel Neubauer (Sound Design) has called New Hampshire home since 2009, working both regionally and locally as a sound designer and technician. Rachel started as a musician and fell in love with theatre playing in the pit for her high school production of West Side Story. Rachel holds both a B.M. in percussion and an B.A.S. with an emphasis on theatrical sound design. Select Regional (Sound Design): All Shook Up, Thoroughly… Millie (Mac-Haydn Theatre), Woman in Black (Seacoast Repertory Theatre),  Cabaret (Pentangle Arts/Artistree), I Am My Own Wife, (New Hampshire Theatre Project).  Rachel works at Patrick Dorow Productions in Portsmouth, NH as Technical Director and Resident Sound Designer, at Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham, NY as Sound Supervisor, and as a freelance sound designer throughout New England. Rachel would like to thank her friends and family for their continued support. Special Thanks to Joe, Lindsey and Gus. For more info and upcoming projects visit sounddesignbyrachel.org

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