Wayne Brady says seeing himself in iconic character role ‘never gets old’

wayne brady face shot at 2019 Daytime Emmy Awards in pasadena california
Wayne Brady is portraying The Wiz in a Broadway revival of the musical. Pic credit: ©

The talented Wayne Brady will appear in an iconic role this month as he suits up for his latest adventure in entertainment.

Brady, best known for hosting TV’s Let’s Make a Deal, and his improv comedy skills on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, has also had plenty of unique roles on stage.

Now, he will appear in the Tony Award-winning musical The Wiz as the title character.

He recently addressed what it’s like to take on that role as he admired a larger-than-life image of himself as the character.

“Does it really sink in when you see your face on the wall?” CBS Sunday Morning’s interviewer asked him.

“I think it sinks in. This never gets old,” he admitted, adding, “I mean, come on. It’s my big old head on Broadway.”

Brady talks about the ‘the energy to live up to’ the role of The Wiz

During his chat on CBS Sunday Morning, the interviewer said seeing Wayne Brady as The Wiz is “very believable,” but also mentioned there is a lot of buildup until you finally see him appear.

“You spend a whole act waiting for this cat,” Brady joked.

His character’s eventual appearance comes with a majestic throne, which is purple mainly for the interior and features a green exterior.

“You come out in something like this; you have to have the energy to live up to this thing,” Brady said.

Brady considered himself for a different role in The Wiz

During an interview for The Broadway Show, Brady talked about his excitement as he called to see if he could get a role in The Wiz. 

He shared that while discussing it on the phone, he thought he might be able to play the part of the Tin Man. However, the creative team wanted him as The Wiz.

Brady admitted that when he was younger, The Wiz was an older character on stage or in films.

“I’m like, ‘I don’t wanna be that guy. Am I that guy? I play video games. I’m not old,’” he joked.

After listening to director Schele Williams’s vision for the character, he said he was grateful she chose him for the role.

“I get it, and thank you,” Brady said he told Williams.

Other actors who have portrayed The Wiz include singer Peabo Bryson and actor/comedian Orlando Jones. Late, great comedian Richard Pryor portrayed the character in a movie adaptation.

What is The Wiz?

Many people are familiar with L. Frank Baum’s children’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Baum’s published novel arrived in 1900. A Broadway play based on the work began in 1902, and the classic movie adaptation of the book, starring Judy Garland, came in 1939.

The Wiz is a musical retelling of the story from an African-American cultural context. The Wiz’s music and lyrics are by Charlie Smalls, with the book written by William F. Brown.

The musical opened in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1974 and then moved to Boadway’s Majestic Theater with a new cast in 1975.

Since then, there’s been a 1978 movie adaptation starring the late Diana Ross as Dorothy, the late Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow, and the late Pryor as The Wiz.

There was a United States tour for the musical in 2023, and now there is the 2024 Broadway revival, in which Brady stars.

The Wiz is showing at Marquise Theatre in New York, New York, with dates, times, and ticket details on the official website for shows in April and the ensuing months.

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