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Photograph: Max HermanTheater Wit

Kokandy Productions to stage ‘The Wiz,’ ‘Little Fish,’ ‘Bonnie & Clyde’

Written by
Kris Vire

Kokandy Productions, a non-Equity company specializing in musical theater, has revealed three out of four planned productions for its fifth season, starting in the spring of 2017 with a revival of the 1975 Wizard of Oz adaptation The Wiz.

Lili-Anne Brown will direct The Wiz, a project she'd originally been attached to as a coproduction of Bailiwick Chicago, where she was, until recently, the artistic director, and American Theater Company. That production was announced for spring 2016, but rights were pulled when NBC announced last fall's live television broadcast of the musical, with a Broadway revival purportedly to follow this fall. With Broadway plans seemingly stalled indefinitely, Brown gets another chance to ease on down the road.

Kokandy's co-artistic director Allison Hendrix will stage the Chicago premiere of Michael John LaChiusa's Little Fish, an eclectic musical inspired by a pair of short stories by Deborah Eisenberg about a woman's struggling to quit smoking. It will open in July 2017.

New York–based director David Alpert will helm another Chicago premiere, composer Frank Wildhorn's take on Bonnie & Clyde. The show's Broadway run opened and closed quickly in 2011, but earned Tony nominations for actress Laura Osnes and for Wildhorn's score. It's slated for a September 2017 opening.

A fourth production for spring 2018, to be directed by co-artistic director John D. Glover, remains to be announced. All four productions will be staged at Theater Wit, where Kokandy is a resident company.

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