EXCLUSIVE: Adam Blackstone, who won a 2022 Emmy Award for his music direction of the memorable hip-hop Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and others, has joined the creative team of the Broadway-bound musical revival of The Wiz.
Blackstone has signed on as Dance Music Arranger, a position that reunites him with frequent collaborator JaQuel Knight, the show’s choreographer. (Blackstone joins the production with his associate Terence Vaughn.)
In a statement, Blackstone said the new collaboration with Knight will allow the two to “explore our own interpretation for a revival of this masterpiece.”
The announcement was made by producers Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson, Brian Anthony Moreland, Ambassador Theatre Group, Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker. The Wiz will launch a national tour on September 23 in Baltimore before heading to Broadway, with Wayne Brady in the title role, for a limited engagement later in spring 2024.
“Joining The Wiz‘s creative team has been a very surreal moment,” Blackstone said. “I remember watching the film on VHS daily for years, wondering how it sounded so incredible, how MJ transformed into the Scarecrow, and the score and orchestrations truly told a story all of its own.
“Fast forward to today,” Blackstone continued, “I get to musically partner with Terence Vaughn and reunite with my brother, super choreographer and creative director JaQuel Knight…I am excited and look forward to this body of work changing lives, just like it did for me in the ’80s.”
Said Knight, “With over a decade of working beside each other on some of the biggest stages in the world, I’m so honored to have him and his team by my side on this journey to Broadway. The work he does is so important to culture. To have him translate the music in my head to a joyous audio experience…grateful is an understatement!”
In addition to his Emmy-winning Super Bowl show, which also featured Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent, Blackstone was Emmy-nominated for his music direction of the 2023 Super Bowl show starring Rihanna and in 2022 for his music direction on the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. He was the music director for the 2022 Oscars ceremony, and has worked with such performers as Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj and Maroon 5, among others.
Blackstone also was nominated for a 2023 Grammy Award in the Best Traditional R&B Performance category for his song “Round Midnight.” (Beyoncé took the award for “Plastic Off The Sofa.”)
The Wiz features a book by William F. Brown and a Tony Award-winning score by Charlie Smalls (and others). Schele Williams directs, and Amber Ruffin is providing additional material. In addition to Brady, who will appear in select cities, the cast will include Nichelle Lewis as Dorothy, Deborah Cox as Glinda and Melody A. Betts as Aunt Em and Evillene, Kyle Ramar Freeman as the Lion, Phillip Johnson Richardson as the Tinman, and Avery Wilson as the Scarecrow.