What’s the big deal about Brittney Johnson!?!

I’m so glad you asked!

She’s the first Black female lead in the role of Glinda on Broadway’s Wicked!

I am very hopeful that by the time Anna is a grown woman we won’t have to make a big deal about this because the arts and education will be more equitable, for now, in 2022, it’s a big deal when a Black female has the lead role!

Brittney Johnson has been in the Wicked ensemble and has been the understudy for Glinda but as of February 14th, 2022, the role was officially hers! Now if she’s not there, someone understudies for her!

I was able to see Wicked several months ago and when I found out that a Black female was to become the lead after February14th I knew I had to make sure Anna saw her in that role. If you’re a long-time reader you may remember when Anna said she wanted to be white so she could be a ballerina. We were ready with books in-hand to show her Black ballerinas – representation matters! She needs to “see herself” on the stage, in books, in her community, and in her classrooms. Taking Anna to Wicked with Brittney Johnson on stage was critical for me, during this season where our family has the privilege to live in the greatest city in the world. The way Broadway goes, you don’t know if the lead will be on stage the night you are there until you are handed your playbill… and I’m sure you can imagine my excitement when I looked at the little slip placed inside and saw that there was no substitution listed for Glinda! OH MY GOODNESS! I was so excited!

We were able to take our friends Jamie and Joy and it was Joy’s first time to see a Broadway production as well. The show was wonderful and the their excitement melded with ours to make it an perfect experience!

{The following information may be boring for some audiences.}

Anna is a bit young for this show as it can be loud and some of the characters are scary. I prepared her in advance by showing her videos of the monkeys getting into make-up and costume. We also went to a small production of Beauty and the Beast before which was a workship with the actors. The actor who played the Beast was fun and interacted with the kids and said, “In a few minutes you’ll see me on stage and I’ll be dressed in a pretty scary costume, but you’ll know it’s me because you’ll recognize my voice.”

That was stellar! And Anna did recognize his voice and told me so during the performance (sorry to the people around us).

Knowing I wanted Anna to see Wicked I used that experience and the videos of make-up and costumes to prepare her expectations for the scary monkeys.

During Wicked she held my hands and tensed up most at the voice of the Wizard. My prep worked paid off because she enjoyed watching the monkeys and didn’t seem too scared of them.

Anyway, on the way home Anna and I shared Airpods and watched several videos of Brittney Johnson. Two of my favorites include her first night’s curtain call when Lindsay Pearce was so excited for Brittney that she forgot to take her own bow and an interview Playbill did with Brittney. I’ll link to both below but be sure to watch the clip of the first curtain call AND look at the picture on CNN’s article. There are two different links: one for the video and one for the photo. In the CNN link you can watch Brittney’s first entrance in bubbles and her opening line says it all: “It’s good to see me, isn’t it?”

Yes, it is, Brittney! YES, IT IS!

Also, because I know you’re dying to know… Anna does have a favorite number: “What is this feeling.

Click here for link to article.

Brittney Johnson’s smile and the excitement on Lindsay Pearce’s face brought tears to my eyes in this clip:

Interviews of Brittney Johnson on her new role:

‘Wicked’ Star Brittney Johnson: ‘Black History Is Happening Right Now. I Am Living Proof’

How Being an Understudy Prepared ‘Wicked’ Star Brittney Johnson for Her History-Making Role

And now for some pictures and a video from our Girl Date:

1 & 2: On our way to start our GirlDate!
3 & 4: Before the show.
4: With the stage in the background… girl can’t keep that mask on her nose and she was happy to be there, I promise!
5: I videoed Anna clapping and then snatched a quick picture of the cast at their final bow.
6 & 7: Anna waved at the Krispy Kreme guy so he brought her up to the front of the line and gave her a free donut to eat while we waited in line. Krispy Kreme donuts make me this happy, to, baby girl!

Her face when she looks up at me! I think we have a theater-lover.

About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
This entry was posted in Motherhood Musing, NYC/Brooklyn, Racism/Race Issues, travel. Bookmark the permalink.

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