For the 80th anniversary of MGM’s Oscar-winning 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, BroadwayBox teamed up with photographer Curtis Brown, award-winning & up-and-coming costume designer Beck Jones, and director/videographer Jaytel Provence to present Broadway Celebrates Oz, a modern, editorial look back at Oz in 2019 and its beloved characters. Over the next few weeks, BroadwayBox shines the spotlight on each of the illustrious participants in the series. Next up is our Cowardly Lion, Jelani Alladin.
After graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Brooklyn’s own Jelani Alladin began his stage career at off-Broadway’s York Theatre Company. He appeared in their 2015 adaptation of Uncle Tom's Cabin, titled Lord Tom, starring Phillip Boykin.
Jelani starred as Pharus in the Bay Area premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play Choir Boy in 2015. His performance won Jelani the the San Francisco Critics Circle Award for Best Leading Actor in a Play.
Then he returned to the York in 2016, co-starring in their Musicals In Mufti revival of Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope.
That same year, he appeared in Asolo Rep’s world premiere musical Josephine, starring Deborah Cox as Josephine Baker.
Then in 2017, he starred as the charismatic traveling musician Cat Jones in the original off-Broadway musical Sweetee. For this, he received a 2017 AUDELCO Award nomination for Outstanding Performance in a Musical.
Next came his big breakout moment. Jelani originated the role of Kristoff in the world premiere production of Frozen. After the Denver run in the summer of 2017, Jelani made his Broadway debut in 2018 leading a new Disney musical. That year, Jelani was nominated for both the Drama Desk and Drama League Award.
This past summer, Jelani became the talk of the town as he originated his second Disney role, playing the title character in the Public Work’s world premiere production of Hercules. He brought such warm and heart to the character, winning over fans and critics alike.
So you see, there was no one better to bring to life the lovable Lion in our Wizard of Oz.
Photos by Curtis Brown. Costume design by Beck Jones. Video by Jaytel Provence. Hair and makeup design by Kenneth Griffin. Ruby red stiletto designed by Tyler Holland. Assisted by Courtney Christison, Izzy Arrieta, Tyler Holland, Alessia Aucoin, Eddie Ilie, Ana Maldonado, Michael Clifton, Dotty Petersen, Travis Whisler, Sean Ulley, and Quincy Brown. Special thanks to Feinstein’s/54 Below and the JW Marriott Essex House.