Brittney Johnson to Be First Black Woman to Play Glinda Full-Time on Broadway's 'Wicked'

The hit Broadway musical Wicked announced Tuesday that actress Brittney Johnson will soon be taking over the role of Glinda the Good Witch, marking the first time a Black woman has played the part full-time in over 18 years.

Johnson originally joined the cast of Wicked in 2018 as a stand-by for the character, but will be promoted to the leading role full-time starting on February 14, 2022.

The 31-year-old has previously appeared on Broadway in Les Misérables, Motown, Sunset Boulevard, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and Kristin Chenoweth: For the Girls, and she will succeed Ginna Claire Mason to become Glinda, according to Playbill.

"If this is a dream, don't wake me. I cannot WAIT to be your Glinda. I'm honored, grateful, and speechless. I simply couldn't be happier," Johnson tweeted on Tuesday.

In an interview with People magazine, Johnson added that playing the character as the first Black woman is both an "honor" and an "awesome responsibility."

"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," she said.

Kristin Chenoweth, who played Glinda when the musical opened on Broadway in 2003, offered congratulations to Johnson for her historic achievement.

"I am so proud of you," Chenoweth told Johnson in a video message on Tuesday. "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!"

Since its debut in 2003, Wicked has been performed in over 100 cities in 16 countries. The international sensation is considered the fifth longest-running production in Broadway history, Playbill reported. The musical, which is told from the perspective of the witches from The Wizard of Oz, describes Glinda as a "bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular."

Johnson first played Glinda onstage as an understudy in 2019, and described the thrilling experience as feeling "like a rock concert." The 31-year-old actress said she was initially left speechless when she received a call from Wicked producer David Stone asking if she would like to take on the full-time role in the new year.

"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 told People. 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."

Wicked reopened on Broadway on September 14, after closing for 18 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Wicked Brittney Johnson
Actress Brittney Johnson will become the first Black woman to play 'Glinda' in the hit Broadway musical 'Wicked.' Here, the cast of 'Wicked' perform on stage during the 58th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 6, 2004 in New York City. Frank Micelotta/Getty Images