Brittney Johnson Makes History As the First Black Woman to Star As Glinda in Broadway Production of ‘Wicked’

Image: Joan Marcus

Broadway actress and singer Brittney Johnson made history this week after it was announced that she would be the first Black woman to star in the classic Broadway production “Wicked” as Glinda. She will take over the renowned role full-time, beginning February 14, 2022, at the Gershwin Theater. In 2018, she joined the ensemble as an understudy and made history a year later after becoming the first actress of color to portray the role. Johnson has appeared in Les Misérables, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Motown, Sunset Boulevard, and Kristin Chenoweth: For the Girls.

Based on the novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, the internationally acclaimed play has become the fifth longest-running production in Broadway history. The musical depicts life before Dorothy Gale came to Oz based on the infamous novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum and film The Wizard of Oz. The role of Glinda was initially originated by Kristin Chenoweth, who sent her congratulations to the newly appointed Johnson via video message. “You’ll be handling the wand and crown just as I did, and probably better. I even wore pink for you! I’m saying congratulations, break a leg, and you know I love you, baby!”

In a statement given to People, the NYU alumna shared, “It’s an honor…I only had a few people who I feel like I could look up to when I was starting this journey, and it’s still a little surreal for me when people send me messages and write me letters saying that I am the reason why they feel like they can pursue their dream, that I am the person that they are looking up to. It feels like an awesome responsibility and one that I am grateful for.”

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