NBC’s live musical event The Wiz Live! has cast David Alan Grier in the role of the Cowardly Lion. Grier, a three-time Tony Award nominee, joins previously announced cast members Queen Latifah as The Wiz, Mary J. Blige as Evillene (Wicked Witch of the West), and Stephanie Mills as Auntie Em. NBC will be airing the musical live on December 3, 2015.
The Tony Award-winning musical The Wiz opened in 1975 on Broadway. NBC’s production is based on that play and will include new material by Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy, Hairspray, La Cage aux Folles) with Neil Meron and Craig Zadan set to executive produce. Tony winner Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun) is the stage director and Matthew Diamond is on board as the TV director.
Grier’s credits include The First, Race, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Dreamgirls, and In Living Color.
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.
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