NBC’s live musical event The Wiz Live! has just added Grammy winners Mary J. Blige and Queen Latifah to the cast. According to NBC’s official announcement, Queen Latifah will be playing 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.”
Blige has been cast as “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.”
The Wiz Live! will also star Stephanie Mills as Auntie Em. Mills previously played Dorothy in The Wiz‘ original Broadway production.
The Wiz Live! will be directed by Kenny Leon and Harvey Fierstein is working on new written material. Neil Meron and Craig Zadan are executive producing and Fatima Robinson is on board as choreographer. NBC’s airing the live special on December 3, 2015.
“We are so happy reuniting with Latifah,” stated Zadan and Meron. “We’ve been friends for a long time and we’ve had quite a lot of success together. To see her play the iconic role of the Wiz and make it her own is going to be one of the joys of producing this event.”
“I can’t wait to watch Mary bring the badness that is Evillene,” added director Kenny Leon. “Her talent range is off the charts and I know audiences won’t be able to take their eyes off her.”
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