Brittney Johnson as Glinda in ‘Wicked.’ (Photo: Joan Marcus)
It’s good to see her, isn’t it? Brittney Johnson will make history and be the first Black Glinda in any Wicked production (touring, London, or New York City) to play the role full time. The actress is currently the standby in the Broadway production and will assume the role full-time starting on February 14, 2022.
Johnson made Wicked history by being the first actress of color to play the Good Witch of the North, first going on in January of 2019. She’s been “popular” ever since; in an interview with Playbill following her Glinda debut, she noted, “Every Glinda who plays it, we bring our own experiences to our roles and I feel like ‘Thank Goodness’ for me is the culmination of this entire experience,” she said. “Singing those words, in this skin, on that stage, in front of all those people…the magnitude of it hit me during that scene.”
Johnson is not alone in breaking boundaries on Broadway; Emilie Kouatchou will take over as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera, playing the role starting January 26, 2022, also the night the musical celebrates its 34th anniversary on Broadway.
Johnson has performed on Broadway in multiple productions, including in Les Misérables, Sunset Boulevard, and Beautiful, among other shows. The current cast of Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre includes Lindsay Pearce as Elphaba, Alexandra Billings as Madame Morrible, Michael McCormick as The Wizard, Sam Gravitte as Fiyero, Jordan Barrow as Boq, Mili Diaz as Nessarose, and Michael X. Martin as Doctor Dillamond.
Wicked tells the story of two unlikely friends, Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Galinda (whose name later changes to Glinda the Good Witch), whose relationship struggles through their opposing personalities and viewpoints, rivalry over the same love-interest, reactions to the Wizard’s corrupt government, and, ultimately, Elphaba’s private fall from grace. The musical has been running on Broadway since October 2003.