When “The Wiz Live!” comes NBC in December, Oz the great and powerful will be portrayed by a Queen, while another famous singer will hop on the broom pursuit Dorothy and her shiny silver slippers in the upcoming musical.
In an Entertainment Weekly exclusive, it was learned that Queen Latifah with play the Wiz, while Mary J. Blige will play Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West.
Executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron told People they’re excited to see what Latifah brings to the role. "To see [Queen Latifah] play the iconic role of the Wiz and make it her own is going to be one of the joys of producing this event," said Zadan and Meron.
Latifah is no stranger to musicals having starred in “Chicago” and “Hairspray,” while also appearing in several films and performing live throughout her career. Blige, a nine-time Grammy winner, has also been in musicals before after acting in the “Rock of Ages” film and on shows like “Empire” and “Blackish.”
The original Dorothy from the original Broadway cast, Stephanie Mills, has been cast to play Auntie Em. The search for who will play Dorothy is still underway by NBC, but it will likely be a newcomer.
The musical will follow the previous musical telecasts “The Sound of Music Live!” and last year’s “Peter Pan Live!” which were both executive produced by Zadan and Meron.
The Wiz is an adaptation of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls. The musical tells the story of The Wizard of Oz, but with an "African-American/multicultural twist," according to E! Online.
Here’s a clip of the 1978 film adaption starring Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and Lena Horne:
“The Wiz Live!” premieres Thursday, Dec. 3 on NBC.