‘The Wiz Live!’ Premieres On NBC Starring Queen Latifa
The Wiz Live! will finally premiere on NBC Thursday, Dec. 3 with Queen Latifa starring as the titular wizard.
The Wiz Live!
The Wiz Live!, a remake of the 1975 Broadway musical that was inspired by The Wizard of Oz, airs tonight. While Queen Latifa is the Wizard of Oz, all eyes will be on newcomer Shanice Williams, who is taking on the iconic role of Dorothy in the production.
The cast also includes Ne-Yo (the Tinman), Mary J Blige, (Evillene, Wicked Witch of the West), Common (Bouncer) Amber Riley (Addaperle, the Good Witch), Uzo Aduba (Glinda the Good Witch), Elijay Kelley (the Scarecrow), David Allen Grier (the Cowardly Lion) and veteran Stephanie Mills (Aunt Em), who played Dorothy in the original musical.
While it’s no surprise that Queen Latifa would be in The Wiz Live! cast, some wondered why they cast her in the traditionally male role of the wizard. For executive producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan or director Kenny Leon, it wasn’t something that required a second thought.
“I wasn’t thinking about gender. I said Queen Latifah. The Wiz can be anything; can do anything,” Leon told Vibe. “They said we’d love Queen Latifah. And we went after her right away.”
Another possible surprise for longtime fans of The Wiz will be the modern choreography and music.
”We’re hitting the Quan, we’re hitting the nae-nae,” revealed choreographer Fatima Robinson. “We have every fun street dance that’s out there, we’ve incorporated in the choreography. And it’s so much fun.”
As for the music, Ne-Yo wrote a new song titled “We Got It” for the production that was meant to help make it more accessibe to the younger generations.
“We were trying to pay respects to the era that it was written in but understand that kids are going to watch this show.,” producer Stephen Oremus said. “Let’s make the original but make it sound more contemporary or traditional rather.”
The Wiz Live! airs on Thursday, December 3 at 8pm on NBC.
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