Broadway history has been made by a Black artist once again. For the first time in more than 18 years, the production of Wicked will be led by a Black woman full-time.
People reported that Brittney Johnson will take over the stage play’s lead role, Glinda the Good, on Feb. 14, 2022. The actress previously understudied the role and, on Jan. 10, 2019, became the first person of color to play the part on Broadway.
While full-time, she’ll take the stage as Glinda eight times a week at the Gershwin Theatre.
“It’s an honor,” she told People. “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.”
Johnson recalls being at a loss for words when she received the offer from Wicked producer David Stone.
“He was like, ‘So, we would love for you to take over for Glinda,’ and then there was silence because I probably was sitting on the other line just like not breathing!” she said about the phone call. “He was like, ‘Hello? Are you there? Are you excited?’ I was like, ‘Yes, I’m very excited.’ He had to wake me up because I feel like I’m in a dream.”
Before stepping into the spotlight, Kristin Chenoweth—who opened as Glinda when the musical arrived on Broadway in 2003—gave Johnson her blessings.
“I am so proud of you,” she told Johnson in a 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!”