Additional casting has been announced for the upcoming live television presentation of the musical The Wiz. Joining original Dorothy Stephanie Mills as Aunt Em will be Oscar nominee Queen Latifah as The Wiz and Grammy winner Mary J. Blige as Wicked Witch of the West "Evillene."
Tony winner Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun) will stage the live television production, which is based on Charlie Smalls and William F. Brown's Tony-winning stage version. Four-time Tony winner Harvey Fierstein (Kinky Boots) will contribute new material to Brown's book. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron serve as executive producers, with Universal Television producing. Full casting will be revealed in the coming months.
The Wiz, a retelling of L. Frank Baum's classic Wizard of Oz stories, opened on Broadway in 1975 and won seven Tonys including Best Musical and Best Score. A 1978 film version starred Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. It was last seen in New York in a New York City Center Encores! Summer Stars revival in 2009, with a cast led by Ashanti, Orlando Jones, and Tony winner LaChanze.
The live television broadcast of The Wiz serves as the precursor to a Broadway revival, coproduced by Cirque du Soleil’s new stage theatrical division, in the 2016-2017 Broadway season.