Broadway Hit Wicked Takes Leadership with Diversity


Jack Pasquale

The international Broadway hit Wicked took a big step forward for diversity, inclusion and equal representation when it cast Brittney Johnson as the first black woman to play the full-time lead role for Glinda, beginning February 14, 2022. Johnson landed her first Broadway job in 2014, with a long line of credits now including Les Misérables, Motown, Sunset Boulevard, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, among others.

Johnson, who previously served as an understudy for 3 years, tweeted, “If this is a dream, don’t wake me. I cannot WAIT to be your Glinda. I’m honored, grateful, and speechless. I simply couldn’t be happier. See you Feb 14th, 2022! #BrittneyTheGood”

“I always knew I would be successful in whatever it was that I chose to do because I am stubborn and determined and I was never told that I couldn’t by the people that loved me,” added Johnson in Essence Magazine.

In addition to Brittney Johnson, Jordan Barrow recently joined Wicked when cast as the first black actor to play the role of Boq. His previous credits include acting in Shakspeare in the Park.

Wicked has been a blockbuster hit since its 2003 opening at the Gershwin Theatre. It is the fifth longest-running production in Broadway history, with upwards of $5 billion generated in box-office sales. It’s been performed in over 100 cities in 16 countries. The show has earned several Tony awards and a Grammy.

Unlike the traditional Wizard of Oz we all watched growing up, the Broadway show is based on the novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. It explores an alternate version of the story in which the good witch Glinda, has bad intentions, and the green skinned Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West, is actually trying to do good. The hit show challenges us to question preconceptions and how someone like Elphaba can be so misunderstood.