‘Wicked’ Welcomes New Citizens to Oz + More New York Theater News

Photo Source: Joan Marcus

On Broadway and beyond, a curtain can rise as quickly as it can fall; a star can be swapped as easily as Bernie Telsey can say, “That’s enough.” Theater is the beating heart of New York show business and, if you want to make it here, it’s crucial you’re up to date on incoming projects, latest castings, and other industry news. Don’t worry, Broadway baby, Backstage has your back. Every week, we’re rounding up the can’t-miss stories no thespian should live without, so you can focus on important matters like hitting your high F. Curtain up and light those lights!

Welcome new citizens to Oz.
Fellow Ozians: Beginning Jan. 30, Broadway’s long-running hit “Wicked” will welcome two new cast members. Tony-nominated Isabel Keating will take over the role of Madame Morrible and Martin Moran will assume the Doctor Dillamond track. The duo joins a cast led currently by Amanda Jane Cooper as Glinda, and Jackie Burns as Elphaba.

“The Band’s Visit” gets a new visitor.
One of this season’s biggest hits so far, “The Band’ Visit,” will see a bit of a cast turnover. Etai Benson, who plays the role of Papi in the Broadway incarnation, will be out of the show until Feb. 4; in his stay will be Daniel David Stewart, who actually originated the role in the show’s Off-Broadway run in 2016.

Hello, Molly!
Bette Midler has sadly left her Tony-winning title role in Broadway’s “Hello, Dolly!,” but there’s no need to cry over her departure; as previously announced, she’ll be succeeded by Bernadette Peters, with David Hyde Pierce’s role of Horace assumed by Victor Garber. However, in new news, the role of Minnie Fay, vacated by Beanie Feldstein, will be played by Molly Griggs when the Tony-winning revival resumes performances Jan. 20.

Some newbies join the band.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony-nominated “School of Rock” will welcome seven new cast members to the band. Rachel Katzke, Walden Sullivan, Amadi Chapata, Demi Singleton, Annabelle Wachtel, Terrance Bell, Jr., and Chloe Bryan will take their first bows in the production on Jan. 29.

Phylicia Rashad puts on her directing cap.
Tony winner Phylicia Rashad will make her New York City directorial debut with Signature Theatre’s production of “Our Lady of 121st Street.” Rashad replaces previously-announced director Anne Kaufman helming the piece, by Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Adly Guirgis. Performances begin May 1 at the Pershing Square Signature Center.

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