Originally opened on Broadway in 1975 and running for four years, The Wiz was adapted for the big screen in 1978 starring Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow and Diana Ross as Dorothy.
Cohen, 27, was chosen as Cheryl Cole’s 'wild card' act during the 2010 series of X Factor. Having got through to the final 16 performers for the live final, she was eliminated during a sing-off with fellow contestant Katie Waissel.
“On the X-Factor I was singing in front of millions of viewers every week, but I can't wait to be singing live in front of an audience every night” Cohen said recently. “You get so much back from people it's the best feeling in the world. The Wiz is a fabulous musical and so this really is a dream come true for me.”
Her co-stars include Clive Rowe (Lion), who won an Olivier for Richard Eyre’s NT production of Guys and Dolls. His myriad other musicals include Caroline, Or Change, Simply Heavenly, Carousel, Company, Chicago and The Fantasticks. He’s also well known for his panto dames at Hackney Empire, for which he’s also been Olivier nominated.
Peter Straker (The Wiz) created the role of Hud in the original 1968 London production of Hair, and has since played in almost every major London theatre. He has recorded several albums and featured on the late Freddie Mercury's collaboration with Montsserrat Caballe on Barcelona. His solo show I’m Still Here was a hit at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
The Wiz, which will be directed by Josette Bushell-Mingo, will run at the New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham from 10 to 18 June before transferring to West Yorkshire Playhouse for a run from 24 June to 16 July 2011.
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