Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker Return to Broadway: Bringing 'The Wiz' Back to Life

In an interview with BET, the power couple talks about the upcoming revival of 'The Wiz'.

Thirty years ago, a teenage Kandi Burruss set a goal to land on Broadway and create opportunities for people like her who wanted to be both onstage and behind the curtain.

What seemed like a pipe dream has turned into Burruss’s return to the good ‘ole Great White Way for the fourth time in her three-decade career. The Grammy winner and Emmy nominee, along with her husband, Todd Tucker, are producers on the national tour of The Wiz ahead of its return to Broadway in April 2024.

Easing on down to the Big Apple in time for the 50th anniversary of its very first show in Baltimore, the enterprising couple who produced The Pass for Peacock TV is most excited to revive the classic production for The Fox Theatre in their hometown, Atlanta, from Nov. 14-19 after smashing box office receipts with their Tony Award-nominated revival of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson

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“Atlanta is actually the biggest stop on our tour this year,” Burruss told BET. “It was that musical theater piece when I attended Tri-Cities High School [in East Point, Ga.] that made me say one day I want to do this. I am just overwhelmed with joy to be able to say that I’m a part of bringing The Wiz back to Broadway.”

Burruss’ first producer credit on Broadway was for Thoughts of a Colored Man, the first play to return to theater post-pandemic in 2021. The Real Housewives of Atlanta regular cast member performed an eight-week stint as Mama Morton in Chicago three years prior.

The Piano Lesson was Tucker’s stage debut as a producer. The restaurateurs behind Old Lady Gang and Blaze Steak and Seafood were brought on board to assist with the show’s creative marketing, promotional ideas, and casting.

“They’re so out-the-box in how they think about people,” Brian A. Moreland, The Wiz’s creative lead producer, told BET. “They’re not gonna say yes if they can’t actually connect to a person or the community.”

Burruss and Tucker join an ensemble of creative talent for The Wiz that includes JaQuel Knight as choreographer, Adam Blackstone as dance music arranger, Oscar-winning scenic designer Hannah Beachler, Amber Ruffin as writer, costume designer Sharen Davis, and Schele Williams as director.

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The couple’s outreach efforts to create community partnerships and special promotions with Black-and minority-owned businesses led to most of The Piano Lesson’s ticket buyers being people experiencing Broadway for the first time. They plan to do similar collaborations in Atlanta.

“We’re able to bring a different crowd who’s not really known to go,” Burruss told BET. “The majority of the crowds are older, white audiences who are normally used to going, so it has to change, especially if you want to get more diversity there.”

“It was very important for us for people to not only see that show, but to see Broadway come back with Black creatives,” Burruss, who also owns a boutique and cosmetics line, added. “There’s not many of us able to really break through in that lane, and we’re just trying to bring a lot of people with us.”

Producing The Wiz is both hard work and a family affair for Tucker. Outside of meetings, each opening night is both an outing for their children and an opportunity for them to see the grind that goes into building an empire.

“We had to make some of these business trips mini-vacations for our kids and they got a chance to see what mommy and daddy do,” Tucker told BET. “They have a good time, it exposes them, and it’s fun.”

The Wiz is our musical, and we need to come out and celebrate it,” Tucker continued. “We don’t have to bring the stress and all of the stuff we’re dealing with in the world. Just have two hours of fun with family, friends, and enjoy.”

So far, the husband-and-wife serial entrepreneurs are pleased with the show’s response, especially the “five standing ovations” they received at the first show in Baltimore on Sept. 23.

But Burruss’s evolution into producing theater with Tucker is a full circle moment and a dream come true from the first massive hit she scored as part of the R&B quartet Xscape exactly 30 years ago. She remains focused on helping to deliver a stage musical that’s as memorable and dynamic as the original while providing platforms for exceptional talent to shine.

“Broadway is a place where dreams go to come alive,” Burruss told BET. “I want to be the type of producer that can make it happen again and again: not just by attaching my name.”

“It doesn’t matter the success of my last venture or record. It’s always about what I am able to do next time. We put our heart and soul into everything that we do to push it to be a success. I don’t wanna be attached to wackness; I only wanna be attached to greatness.”

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