Brittney Johnson may have taken the stage as Glinda in Wicked more than a few times over the last couple years, but the actress has always been cast as an understudy or last-minute replacement. Now that the hit musical has reopened after a long hiatus, and the Wicked movie is preparing to go into production, Johnson is taking her rightful place as Broadway's first full-time Black Glinda - and she really couldn’t be happier.
In a recent interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Brittney Johnson chatted about taking on the mantle of Glinda (once known as Galinda) in Wicked on Broadway. It’s a historic moment for the theatrical community, especially for audience members of color, and Brittney Johnson is thrilled to see the positive impact her performance will have on future generations. She said:
Brittney Johnson became the first Black actress to play Glinda back in 2019, when she was cast as an understudy. The Broadway show had been running since 2003, meaning that over fifteen years had passed without a woman of color ever playing the Good Witch, even in a part-time capacity. Every viewer deserves to see themselves represented in their favorite musical, especially one that has been on Broadway for such a long time. Johnson is well aware of the power better representation can have on an audience. She said:
The role of Elphaba is also not exempt from Wicked’s historically homogenous casting: Alexia Khadime is the only Black woman to have played the Wicked Witch full-time, and that was from 2008 - 2010 on The West End in London. That’s why it was such a pleasant surprise to find out that Tony Award-winner Cynthia Erivo had been cast as Elphaba in the upcoming Wicked movie., opposite Ariana Grande's Elphaba. Directed by Jon M. Chu of Crazy Rich Asians, the film will be an important step towards better representation in the theatrical industry. And with Brittney Johnson at the helm of the stage show, it’s hopefully just a matter of time until the denizens of Oz reflect the entirety of their audience.
You can catch Brittney Johnson as Glinda the Good Witch eight times a week in Wicked on Broadway. The Wicked movie doesn’t have a release date yet, but it’s finally set to kick off production this summer following a previous March start date. In the meantime, you can check out these upcoming movie releases that will defy gravity in 2022.
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Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.