'The Wiz' is NBC's next live musical! Here are all of the incredible details
Folks, it’s finally time to dust off those silver high heels. In case you haven’t yet heard, NBC has announced that The Wiz will be the network’s next live TV musical special! Following the hugely successful Sound of Music Live! in 2013 and last year’s Peter Pan Live! we will be getting this musical gift. Oh glory be.
I have no doubt you’ve seen The Wizard of Oz; well The Wiz is kinda like that . . . with a twist. The Wiz was adapted from L. Frank Baum’s children’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but all placed within the context of African-American culture. The Broadway production, which opened in October of 1974, won a total of seven Tonys and ran for four years. Shortly after its Broadway debut, The Wiz was adapted into a film in 1978 starring serious heavy hitters like Diana Ross (as Dorothy), Michael Jackson (as the Scarecrow), Richard Pryor (as the Wiz), and Lena Horne (as Glinda the Good). If you haven’t seen the movie yet, get watching. It’s a total classic.
The live TV version won’t be airing until December 3rd, but we’ve got more than a few reasons to bask in all this great news. Having said that, let’s skip to all of the incredible details, shall we?
It’ll be co-produced by Cirque du Soleil’s new stage theatrical division
If there’s anyone who knows how to bring the visual drama, it’s Cirque du Soleil. NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt told Variety, “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.” Alright, now we really can’t wait to see The Wiz in all of its whimsical splendor.
A diverse cast is [very likely] in the making
Although the show is yet to be cast, NBC is most certainly picking up on the public’s desire for diversity in entertainment. Honestly though, NBC better stay true to the show’s roots and give audiences an all Black cast.
There will be a Broadway revival
Yep, you read that correctly! Tony-winning director Kenny Leon is slated to direct both the live television event and the Broadway show in 2016-2017. Just a little something to keep in mind for all your future visits to NYC.
There will be Motown songs galore
A far cry from the sing-songy, lo-fi classics heard on The Wizard of Oz, The Wiz is sure to keep your feet tapping through all of its soulful goodness — assuming this Wiz is like it’s former film and stage adaptations, that is.
Until the show premiers on December 3rd, we’ll be waiting with bated breath on cast announcements and any other major details. Until then, if you want a real blast from the past, take a look at Michael Jackson jamming out as The Scarecrow in the 1978 film: