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"The Wiz Live!" on NBC is a live television production of the hit Broadway musical "The Wiz.," which is adapted from "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum, 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.

The musical ran for four years on Broadway. Said Newsweek critic Jack Kroll during the show's Broadway run: " ... one of the most cyclonic blasts of high energy to hit Broadway in a long time ... blazing high spirits, piping hot servings of soul and sly sagacity about the pleasures and perils of fantasy."

"The Wiz" tells the classic story hundreds of millions of people have read in the L. Frank Baum books and then saw in the much-beloved 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz," but retold in an African-American/multicultural context. Dorothy, a young woman from Kansas, is swept up in a tornado and relocated to a fantasy world that is inhabited by munchkins, good and bad witches, and, of course, flying monkeys. She eventually takes a path down a yellow brick road to find a wizard who can help her go home and along the way meets a scarecrow, tin man and cowardly lion, who all learn to help one another.

Newcomer Shanice Williams stars as Dorothy Gale.

Queen Latifah stars as the Wiz, the mysterious and powerful wizard who holds the keys to the Emerald City, but whose metamorphosis from ordinary to extraordinary is itself a hoax. She rose to her lofty position after being transported by accident to Oz in a hot air balloon during a snowstorm.

Mary J. Blige plays Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West, who holds sway over the Winkies and the Winged Monkeys that do her bidding. She captures Dorothy and her friends to avenge the unintentional murder of her evil sister, Evvamean, and to get back the powerful silver slippers given to Dorothy by the Good Witch of the North.

David Alan Grier plays the Cowardly Lion, who asks Dorothy if he can join her in her journey down the Yellow Brick Road and ask the Wiz for some courage, which he is severely lacking.

Stephanie Mills portrays Auntie Em. Mills is best known to many for playing Dorothy in the original Broadway production of "The Wiz."

Emmy Award winner Uzo Aduba plays Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, who finally reveals the secret of the silver slippers to Dorothy and points her way home.

Amber Riley plays Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North, who isn't the best at magic but she does try. She is a sister of Glinda, Evillene and Evvamene, the other three witches of Oz. She points Dorothy to the Yellow Brick Road and her journey to Emerald City.

Kelley plays the Scarecrow, the first of the three friends to meet Dorothy and who has always dreamed of having brains, but never realizing that he's the smartest of them all.

Ne-Yo plays the Tin Man, who was once a flesh-and-blood woodsman but a spell put on him by the Wicked Witch causes him to lose his limbs and heart. He learns that he's never lost the ability to feel.

Common plays the Bouncer, the gatekeeper of the entrance to Emerald City who is out to get what he can from Dorothy and her three friends.

"The Wiz Live!" is produced by Universal Television and Cirque du Soleil with ´╗┐Craig Zadan & Neil Meron ("The Sound of Music Live!" and "Peter Pan Live!") serving as executive producers. The telecast will be directed by Tony winner and DGA nominee Kenny Leon. Tony winner and Broadway icon Harvey Fierstein will contribute new material to the original Broadway book by William F. Brown.


Network: NBC
Genre: Musical
Premiere Date: December 3, 2015
Production Companies:
Universal Television
Cirque du Soleil

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