WHO's WHO IN THE CAST & CREATIVE TEAM
Chloe Thompson (Dorothy)
Chloe Thompson has been singing ever since the age of 3 and always dreamed of singing and becoming a professional singer. Each and everyday she is blessed with being able to have strong musical talent while getting closer and closer to fulfilling her dreams. Ms. Thompson currently performs at Red Rooster Harlem/ Ginny's supper club every Sunday with Vy Higginsen's Choir of Harlem since 2014. Performing with Vy Higginsen's choir has brought her great opportunities to perform at such prestigious places like Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall for Verizon's "How Sweet the Sounds," and for the Nickelodeon Halo Awards behind Alexia Carra. She is also currently featured in the musical "We Are" as part of the ensemble.
Marlin Slack (Scarecrow)
Marlin is excited to performing in this production. A proud EMC, Some of Marlin's favorite performance credits includes; The Killer, Venus, Metamorphoses, Peter and the Starcatcher, That art Thou, and Rent. Marlin thanks the Lord, his patient and supportive family, His Grandmother, and The cast and crew.
"No two shows are alike in the making. Each show is a living piece of your life in a small unreal world with its own character and integrity; its own new set of memorable experiences and incredible happenings. You begin to love and adapt to its strangeness. Dreams harden into substance. Values come into focus. You wish it would never end. The dream world vanishes like mist before a rising sun; part of you vanishes with it. And back you land in the real world with a thud- fogged, uneasy, jittery, difficult to get along with. There is only one cure. A new show. A new, small unreal world; new visions, experiences, incredible happenings. Again you love it, adapt to it, wish it would never end. But end it does. Another part of you vanishes. That's show business."
Marcus Pitt (Tinman)
My name is Marcus Pitt. I am vocalist/ ensemble member at Ginny's Supper Club Gospel Brunch. I have performed in various places and venues such as THE HALO AWARDS 2016 singing behind Alessia Cara. I have also performed at Carnaige Hall, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2014, and a multitude of others. I take part in Vy Higgensen's off Broadway Musical WE ARE! I am so excited to be apart of such a Iconic Musical such as THE WIZ.
Lawrence Franklin (Lion)
Lawrence Franklin, Is a Musician, Composer, Producer, Singer. And a native of Los Angeles California who comes from a family of musicians, singers, and entertainers. The music bug hit Lawrence when he was a child, going to a family reunion. He was in the room where his cousins, aunts, and uncles were singing gospel music and playing the piano. The striking of the piano keys and the soulful voices did something to Lawrence that changed his life. It was not long before that Lawrence convinced his father to buy him a used Yamaha PSR Keyboard out of a Pawn Shop, day and night Lawrence was glued to the keyboard and started to make melodies, and learn what he heard on the radio. Over the years Lawrence's talent grew on the instruments, soon to be multiple instruments. When Lawrence hit High School, he becomes the minister of music for the inspirational choir at New Century Baptist Church. Lawrence began to play and sing at many churches, as Lawrence grew in his gifts he didn't discover his voice until his early 20s, Lawrence has a range of 5 Octaves in the natural and a strong powerhouse voice that thunders on the stage. Lawrence later started an international distributed record label and live events firm in Los Angeles, he produced and sign his Pop R&B Group Dream5 and Impulse who did well at the height of the boy band era. Lawrence would later produce the World Music And Dance Awards of Los Angeles. Over the years of music produced, and event production Lawrence has had the opportunities to work with aspiring and big named artist. Ray J, Trey Songz, The Pointer Sisters, Monica, American Idol winners, Iyaz, b2k, Brandy, and much more. Now Lawrence embarks on a new journey in the world of musical theater.
Von Middleton (The Wiz/Uncle Henry)
Singer-Songwriter Recording Artist, Model and Actor Von Middleton is a Brooklyn, New York City native. He was a contestant on X Factor (USA) Season 1. Von has pursued a Guinness World Record for the Most National Anthems sang within one year to bring awareness to Autism. With a very extensive portfolio of performing at Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, Essence Music Festival, and the White House, it was his drive and resilience of performing in the New York City subway stations that gave Von the opportunity to sing in Hong Kong, China and internationally. He wants to inspire audiences by showing his innovation through music and to stay connected to his followers and supporters to remind them of his humility.
Tionna Hall (Evillene)
ecent performances include the musicals Hairspray and Crowns, Rumors, Black & Blue, and some film work. Choirs: Harlem Gospel Choir, current: East Coast Inspirational Singers. She is honored to work with this amazingly talented cast and crew and is humbled by the sacrifices of their wonderful families so they could “come out and play”!
Janine Hartmann (Addaperle)
JANINE HARTMANN is an actress, dancer and singer who was recently featured in the Emmy award winning series We Are New York. Her credits include off-Broadway play Black Panther Women as Afeni Shakur, Landmark Musical Theatre's The Boy from Oz, and Gloria Downeys' award-winning short film Forgive me Father. She also danced with the Pretty Big Movement for the Female Hip-Hop Awards and has choreographed for numerous R&B and hip hop artists. She would like to give thanks to her family and friends for helping to achieve her dreams.
Veronica Dawkins (Glinda/Aunt Em)
Veronica's passion for great music shows began at the tender age of 15 when she was accepted for excellence in vocals and music to the Greater Hartford Academy of Arts on a merit scholarship. It was there that she found her niche and began amazing her audiences on stage as a singer and actress, which led to her moving on to Berklee College of Music on a jazz soloist scholarship. Veronica began touring nationally while at Berklee. Her skills were sharpened on her first international tour, a Michael Matthews play called "Secret Lovers". While on tour and performing in shows with the likes of Alicia Keys, Robin Thicke, Kelly Rowland, Patti LaBelle, Celine Dion, The Boston Symphony Orchestra, David Foster, the Three Tenors and countless others.
Tramar Pettaway (Royal Gatekeeper)
Tramar Pettaway was born and raised on Long Island. He started his music career at a very very early age when he was cast in a professional opera where he worked with Opera of the Hamptons. He appeared in all of the school musicals being the principle ensemble member. In April of 2008 he sang back up for the late Godfather Of Gospel Music Elder Timothy Wright in Bridgehampton, New York. Tramar has shared the stage with many many local and national artist including Apollo winner Dylan Jenet Collins, Apollo winner Tiffany Obi, Actress and Singer Dhonna Harris Goodale, singer/ rapper Lem Payne. Tramar has the pleasure and was graced with the opportunity to perform with Metro Opera Singer Earl Huie and jazz vocalist Laura Mann. Being asked to sing with those two was defiantly an "honor that shouldn't be taken lightly" . In 2010, Tramar had the opportunity to sing with the Hot 8 Brass Band. He is a member of Futura Entertertainment.
Artistic Director of New York Black Arts Festival
Dreamgirls (Fashion Institute of Technology, FIT Theater NYC), The Wiz (Oberia Dempsey Theater), Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat ( Langston Hughes Auditorium), A Hip Hop Story (WSU Auditorium in Detroit MI, Artword Theater in Toronto ON, and NWU in Chicago IL), West Side Story (Chicago), MTI/Disney's The Jungle Book (Magic Johnson Theater Special Event), Thriller: The Michael Jackson Tribute Show (Dante Hall Theater of the Arts, Atlantic City, NJ).Special thanks to Geoffrey Holder, George Faison, Charlie Smalls, and William F. Brown for creating the classic we all know and love so much! Especially myself! Info: www.newyorkblackarts.com
Brian Cunningham is a music mogul who has worked with various multi-platinum & Grammy award winning artists. He also composes music and playwright of "A Hip-Hop Story" and is currently working with BET & Viacom on season two of "My Current Situation."
Jason began dancing at The Harlem School of the Arts and the Martha Graham school in New York City. His primary training includes scholarships to The Alvin Ailey School and The Boston Conservatory. Among others he performed works by Martha Graham, Murray Louis, and Kevin Iega Jeff. Jason was also an esteemed member of the internationally renowned company Philadanco! Jason began to decorate his career goals with extensive television, film and theatrical credits including work with directors Diana Paulus ‘Invisible Thread’ Off-Broadway and Tony Award winning Bill T. Jones ‘FELA!’ Jason is currently the ContemporaryRehearsal Director for the acclaimed company of ‘Forces of Nature’ Dance Theater.
William Michael Allen
(Associate Producer/Social Media Design & Production)
William Michael Allen has a degree in multimedia and graphic design from the Art Institute of New York City he is currently Associate Producer at New York Black Arts and oversees audience development as well as social media campaigns.
Charlie Smalls won a Tony Award for his music and lyrics for The Wiz and a Grammy for Best Cast Album. He toured Europe with Harry Belafonte's show and then joined Hugh Masakela as musical director. He formed his own group, Charlie Smalls & Co., and was signed by A&M Records. His work in films includes writing the scores for "Events," "Faces" and Dino Delaurentis's "Drum." For the film of "The Wiz," he wrote three additional songs. He won a Grammy for the Lena Horne album, "The Lady and Her Music." Tragically, Smalls passed away in 1987 at the age of 43.
William F. Brown
William F. Brown won a Drama Desk Award and a Tony nomination for The Wiz. He was head writer for New Faces of 1968 and the author of The Girl in the Freudian Slip on Broadway. His recent Broadway show was A Broadway Musical. He also wrote the book for the acclaimed How to Steal An Election. He has over 100 TV credits and has been a syndicated cartoonist ("Boomer"), an author and illustrator of books and a television producer.
Fashion and Costume Designer Steven Daniel was born in Trinidad & Tobago. Designer Steven Daniel a graduate of Fashion Institute Of Technology (NYC) where he received his Bachelors Degree in Fashion Design. Steven is a multi range designer designing everything from swimwear to couture. It is truly a test when you step outside the box and try different phases of designing. Currently I am the costume design supervisor at the American Academy Of Dramatic Arts (NYC). where I have been for the past 26 years, and handles costume design and construction for Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional theater productions.