|The cast of NBC's The Wiz Live includes David Alan Grier (The Cowardly Lion), Shanice Williams (Dorothy), NE-YO (Tin Man) and Elijah Kelley (Scarecrow). (NBC)|
If you are unfamiliar with the musical it is basically a urbanized re-telling of the traditional The Wonderful Wizard of Oz story. Typically, the production features an older Dorothy ready to leave home, a stylistic set and an all African American cast.
The first stage production was performed in 1974 and the 1975 version won seven Tony Awards including Best Musical. Stephanie Mills played Dorothy and will appear in the NBC broadcast playing the role of Aunt Em. In 1978, the musical was turned into a film production that starred Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross and Richard Pryor as the Wizard.
The Wiz Live will be presented on Thursday, December 3 on NBC. The casting includes Elijah Kelley as the Scarecrow, NE-YO as the Tin Man, David Alan Grier as the Cowardly Lion, and Shanice Williams as Dorothy. This new version will feature a female wizard in the form of Queen Latifah.
While you may be unfamiliar with this production, you probably have heard its hit song, "Ease on Down the Road" that was recorded by the disco group, Consumer Rapport.