At just 28 years old, singer, songwriter, and entertainer Avery Wilson has crafted a career in entertainer most people will never accomplish. In 2012, the Hamden, Connecticut native stole the hearts of music lovers on NBC’s reality competition show The Voice. Although Wilson didn’t take home the ultimate win, he did leave with something else: the attentive eyes of America. Since then, he’s rubbed shoulders with some of the industry’s biggest names, including Christina Aguilera, Usher, and Babyface. Along the way, he’s released nearly a dozen songs, one studio album, and two EPs. Now’s stepping into the world of music theater in the revival of The Wiz Musical.
The production, backed by mogul couple Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker, is en route to Broadway, with Wilson stepping into the iconic role of Scarecrow. Contributing writer Flisadam Pointer caught up with the musician to discuss the coveted theatrical role, his latest single “Kiss The Sky,” and more. Read the full interview below.
ThisIsRNB: First off, congratulations! There aren’t many sectors of the industry that you haven’t baffled in (reality competition shows, background work, and, of course, your solo career). Musical theatre is another major milestone for you. What was your reaction when you landed the role in ‘The Wiz Musical?’
Avery Wilson: Well, thank you so much. I was ecstatic to find out after my four auditions that I was cast as the Scarecrow! ‘The Wiz’ is a part of Black culture, and the roles have been played by some of the most iconic people. So, for me to now be in the same lineup is just too much for words. I plan to always be creative without boundaries. There isn’t an industry I can’t be a part of.
The production is coming up on its 40th anniversary. What does it mean to you to be a part of this historic production?
Avery Wilson: Just wow. I am honored and blessed beyond measure to be a part of history.
By way of your role in the piece, You are stepping into the shoes of some legendary entertainers (Hinton Battle in the Broadway production and the late Michael Jackson in the film adaptation). How are you managing the pressure? Have you had a chance to speak with Battle for guidance?
Avery Wilson: Diamonds are made with added pressure. However, to be honest, I don’t feel much pressure. Truthfully, I’m more grateful for the opportunity to bring myself to the role. I have not had the pleasure of speaking with Battle, but I’d love to.
*Photo credit: Jeremy Daniel
The cast is jam-packed with heavy hitters, including Deborah Cox. Can you share any fun behind-the-scenes moments?
Avery Wilson: Yes, this cast is full of top-tier talent! Nichelle Lewis (as Dorothy), Kyle Ramar Freeman (as Lion), Philip Richardson (as Tinman), Melody Betts (as Evillene), Alan Mingo (as The Wiz), and more. It’s quite mind-blowing! We are all comedians, so it’s not specifically one moment I can name because the jokes just fly. But I can say the laughter behind the scenes and onstage is endless!
There are so many things to love about ‘The Wiz Musical.’ The story, choreography, but certainly the original music. Do you have a favorite score to perform yet?
Avery Wilson: My favorite moment is, hands down, ‘Be A Lion!’ You have to experience it live! Whew!
All this music talk, we have to discuss your original work. Your new single, “Kiss The Sky.” What was the inspiration behind the track? Who did you work with? Is it safe to assume this will lead to a full project?
Avery Wilson: The inspiration behind “Kiss the Sky” is about making the person you’re in love (or just hooking up) with feel the best that you possibly can. Hopefully so good they kiss the sky because the sky is the limit. Just a slight hint, I believe a full project is upon us.
What about a tour?
Avery Wilson: That too! I will be hitting the road for the ‘Kiss The Sky Tour’ with a limited number of stops including Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and New York City. Tickets are on sale now.
Back to ‘The Wiz Musical’; what should theatergoers expect when it makes a stop in a city near them?
Avery Wilson: Audiences coming to see ‘The Wiz’ will have an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience filled with mind-blowing vocals, eye-popping costumes, spectacular set design, and soaring musical arrangements.
You can see The Wiz Musical when it eases down the road into a city near you. View the remaining pre-Broadway tour stops below. To grab tickets for any of the listed shows, click here.
*Post cover photo: Courtesy of Avery Wilson
Oct. 31, 2023 through Nov. 5, 2023, in Pittsburgh, PA @ Benedum Center
Nov. 7, 2023 through Nov. 12, 2023, in Charlotte, NC @ Belk Theater
Nov. 14, 2023 through Nov. 19, 2023, in Atlanta, GA @ Fox Theatre
Nov. 21, 2023 through Nov. 26, 2023, in Greenville, SC @ Peace Center For The Performing Arts
Nov. 28, 2023 through Dec. 10, 2023, in Chicago, IL @ Cadillac Palace Theatre
Dec. 12, 2023 through Dec. 17, 2023, in Des Moines, IA @ Des Moines Civic Center
Jan. 2, 2024 through Jan. 7, 2024, in Tempe, AZ @ ASU Gammage
Jan. 9, 2024 through Jan. 14, 2024, in San Diego, CA USA @ San Diego Civic Theatre
Jan. 16, 2024 through Feb. 11, 2024, in San Francisco, CA @ Golden Gate Theatre
Feb. 13, 2024 through Mar. 3, 2024, in Los Angeles, CA @ Pantages Theatre – Los Angeles