NBC begins casting their live-action television production of The Wiz, debuting Thursday, December 3, 2015. Stephanie Mills joins the live broadcast as Auntie Em.
I’m a huge The Wizard of Oz fan, including its many iterations! Of course the classic 1939 Judy Garland film is a favorite, but I also enjoy AU interpretations like Wicked (which I *just* saw on stage for the first time this February, though I’ve adored the cast recording for a decade). With that said, nothing, NOTHING, beats The Wiz!
If you’re unfamiliar, The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical “Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is an adaptation featuring an African-American/multicultural cast, with a book by William F. Brown and music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls. The production opened on Broadway in 1975 at the Majestic Theatre and won seven Tonys, including best musical.
I think the version many of us might be most familiar with is the 1978 film adaptation from Motown Records and Universal Pictures starring, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson,Richard Pryor, among other illustrious entertainers.
Well fans of this musical can rejoice because this past March, NBC announced that they’ll debut a new live television production of The Wiz on Thursday, December 3, 2015! This will join NBC’s latest string of live holiday musicals like The Sound of Music Live! and Peter Pan Live!
NBC will partner with Cirque du Soleil, whose new stage theatrical division will co-produce the live TV event and then present it as a major Broadway revival for the 2016-17 season.
Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon will stage both the television production and Broadway revival in collaboration with Tony winner and Broadway icon Harvey Fierstein, who will contribute new material. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who produced NBC’s two previous live holiday musicals, will be on board as Executive Producers.
THIS IS SO EXCITING! And in more recent developments, yesterday during NBC’s 2015 Upfront presentation, it was announced that Stephanie Mills, who played the original Dorothy in the 1975 production, will be joining NBC’s live broadcast as Auntie Em!
I’m very eager to hear who else will be joining the cast! Do you have any suggestions? Share your thoughts in comments.
And while we await more news, why not “Ease on Down the Road” with Diana Ross (Dorothy) and Michael Jackson (The Scarecrow) 🙂