Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Assistant Stage Editor
NBC announced yesterday that The Wiz will be its next live Broadway musical. Following the success of The Sound of Music LIVE!, starring Carrie Underwood, and Peter Pan LIVE!, starring Allison Williams and Christopher Walken. The event is scheduled to be presented on December 3, 2015.
Charlie Smalls and William F. Brown’s The Wiz is said to be co-produced by Cirque du Soleil’s new stage theatrical division and is set to head to Broadway for a revival in 2016-17. No casting for the live event or the revival has been released at this time.
The Wiz is the retelling of L. Frank Baum’s classic story Wizard of Oz. The show follows the story of Dorothy and her adventure in Oz with rock-filled music. Some of the soulful songs include, “Ease on Down the Road,” “No Bad News” and “Home.” It originally opened on Broadway in 1975 and won seven Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Score. The 1978 film version starred Diana Ross, Richard Pryor and Michael Jackson.
Earlier this year, NBC announced that this coming musical would be either The Wiz or Meredith Willson’s The Music Man. Tony winner Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun) will stage both the live television production and the Broadway revival. This is an interesting dynamic that NBC has signed on for and it will be interesting to see how the two productions come together and if any of the casting or creative team will overlap. Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein (Kinky Boots) will contribute new material for the productions. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will also return as executive producers.
The next question is who will be cast? If past NBC live events have shown, the cast will be a combination of Broadway veterans and Hollywood actors. FOX is also jumping on the Live musical event by presenting Grease Live! with Vanessa Hudgens and Julianne Hough.
More news will be released at the live telecast nears but for now fans can start dream casting and singing these classic showtunes.