The Wiz Musical Headed for NBC Debut in December

Courtesy of Universal Pictures / Motown Productions
Courtesy of Universal Pictures / Motown Productions

NBC will broadcast the live production of The Wiz on December 3rd. The musical will be produced by Academy Award producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. The Cirque du Soleil will also produce The Wiz, before Cirque de Soleil takes the musical to Broadway in 2016. The television broadcast of The Wiz will be directed by Kenny Leon, who will also direct the Broadway revival. Actor and writer Harry Fiersten (Mrs. Doubtfire, Mulan, and Independence Day) will provide the playwright for The Wiz’s live production. 

The Wiz is a recreation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Broadway musical and film. The Wiz (released in 1978) featured an African American cast including Diana Ross (Dorothy), Michael Jackson (Scarecrow), Lena Horne (Glinda the Good Witch), Tex Ross (Cowardly Lion), Nipsey Russell (Tin Man), and Richard Pryor (The Wiz). Quincy Jones, Luther Vandross, and Ashford & Simpson (Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson) provided the music for the film.

NBC’s last few live productions included Peter Pan and The Sound of Music. Peter Pan Live! aired on NBC last December, and over 9 million people watched the live production. The production was produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and it was directed by Rob Ashord and Glenn Weiss. Peter Pan Live! starred Allison Williams (Peter Pan), Christopher Walken (Captain Hook), and Christian Borle (Mr. Smee). 

The Sound of Music Live! was also produced by Zadan and Meron. It starred Carrie Underwood (Maria von Trapp), Stephen Moyer (Captain Georg von Trapp), and Audra McDonald (Mother Abbess). The live production aired on NBC on December 2013, and it pulled in more than 18 million viewers. A soundtrack was released from The Sound of Music Live!, and it reached Number 17 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. Unfortunately, the project has underachieved, and it has only sold 100,000 copies to date. 

The Fox network will be following in the footsteps of NBC, by producing a live production of Grease. Grease: Live will air next year on January 31st. Vanessa Hudgens will play the role of Betty Rizzo, and Julianne Hough will portray the role of Sandy (originally played by Olivia Newton-John). Grease: Live will be produced by Marc Platt (Into the Woods, Drive, and Legally Blonde). 

FDRMX Eyes: Novo Amor is a songwriter, producer, and recording artist from the UK. Novo Amor has released his music video titled “Callow.”

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