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'Hairspray' vet Rashad Naylor to replace Wayne Brady in 'The Wiz'

UPI News Service, 08/04/2006 

"Hairspray" player Rashad Naylor has joined the La Jolla Playhouse production of "The Wiz" in San Diego, replacing actor Wayne Brady as the Scarecrow.

Playbill said that Brady initially was named as the musical's favorite character without a brain, but conflicts in his schedule led to the change-over to Broadway veteran Naylor.

"Wayne had several conflicts in his schedule early on that we were able to accommodate," La Jolla Director Des McAnuff said. "However, as we got further into the preparation of 'The Wiz,' a previously agreed-to project of Wayne's was rescheduled, creating a conflict during 'The Wiz' rehearsal period. It was, sadly, insurmountable. We were very enthusiastic about having him on the project, but we have to part ways."

The La Jolla Playhouse production has been described as a reinvention of the popular musical, adapting to changes in theater and in music to create a modernized version.

The new version of the musical, originally written by William F. Brown and scored by Charlie Smalls, is set to open at the San Diego theater Oct. 8, and run until Nov. 12, Playbill said.

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Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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