We're off to see the wizard! NBC is taking a trip to Oz in December for its third annual live musical production — the network has chosen The Wiz as its 2015 Broadway adaptation, set to air on Thursday, Dec. 3.
This year, producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have partnered with Cirque du Soleil to co-produce the event — which will then transfer to Broadway for the 2016-17 season.
“We love this yearly tradition and we’re more excited than ever to not only bring another Broadway musical to America’s living rooms, but also see it land on Broadway as well,” NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt said in a statement. “It’s a natural next step for our live musical events," he added, praising Cirque du Soleil for helping transfer The Wiz from TV to a major Broadway revival. "Cirque’s incredible imagination will help bring the fantasy world of Oz vividly to life and give this great show a modern spin on the age-old story we all love."
The Wiz, of course, is a more modern, urban take on L. Frank Baum's classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz — and of course the beloved 1939 film starring Judy Garland — and won seven Tonys during its original 1975 run on Broadway. While the musical followed the Kansas/Tornado storyline from the books, the 1978 film adaptation starred Diana Ross as Harlem schoolteacher Dorothy as she was transported to Oz, aka a fantasy version of New York City, with Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow and Richard Pryor as The Wiz.
NBC's version of The Wiz will be an updated version of the Broadway show, directed by Kenny Leon and with additional material by Broadway icon Harvey Fierstein.
Past live NBC musicals have included Carrie Underwood in The Sound of Music Live, and Allison Williams in Peter Pan Live. To aid NBC in finding the perfect Broadway-ready cast, Us Weekly has a few casting suggestions. Do you agree with them?
Zendaya Coleman as Dorothy
America fell in love with the young triple-threat when she came in second place on season 16 of Dancing With the Stars, and now stars on her own Disney Channel show (K.C. Undercover) and is recording her second solo album with Hollywood Records. All she's missing from her resume is "Broadway star" — and this is the perfect opportunity to add it.
Tituss Burgess as the Cowardly Lion
Broadway star Burgess was the breakout comedic relief of Netflix's The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Let's be honest: He could probably play any of these roles, Dorothy included, but since we've already seen him dressed as a feline thanks to his character's self-produced Lion King knockoff musical, he'd be perfect as the Cowardly Lion.
Usher as the Scarecrow
It's hard to fill the shoes of an icon like Jackson, whose first film role was as the Scarecrow in The Wiz, but Jackson's musical heir Usher would do just fine.
Beyonce as Glinda the Good Witch
Not that she'd ever do it, but hey — this is a dream cast. Reach for the stars!
Pharrell Williams as the Tin Man
Just think what a cool hat the Tin Man would wear!
Patina Miller as the Wicked Witch of the West
Every Broadway production on TV needs some actual theater cred, so how about Tony winner Miller (Pippin), known to TV viewers as Daisy Grant on CBS' Madam Secretary and to filmgoers as Commander Paylor from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay?
Jesse L. Martin as The Wiz
Martin might be starring on The CW's The Flash right now, but he's a member of the NBC family thanks to the many years he logged on Law & Order. Plus, he, too, would provide some theater cred — the longtime TV crime-solver starred in the original Broadway cast of RENT. But wait, there's more: Martin guest-starred in several episodes of Zadan and Meron's musical theater-themed NBC drama Smash. So basically, he has to do it.
Tell Us: Who would you like to see in NBC's The Wiz?
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