NBC Announces Revival of ‘The Wiz’

The Wiz

 The Wiz is coming to television and Broadway soon, NBC has officially announced. Producers announced this week that a new production of the 1974 musical based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz will broadcast live on the network on Dec. 3, followed by a Cirque du Soleil run on Broadway during the 2016-17 season.

“We love this yearly tradition and we’re more excited than ever to not only bring another Broadway musical to America’s living rooms, but also see it land on Broadway as well,” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said. “It’s a natural next step for our live musical events, and we’re so pleased to be in business with this award-winning creative team and Scott Zeiger, president and managing director of Cirque du Soleil’s new theatrical division. Cirque’s incredible imagination will help bring the fantasy world of Oz vividly to life and give this great show a modern spin on the age-old story we all love.”

The television broadcast of The Wiz will be executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron with Kenny Leon named as the director of both the live television event, as well as the Broadway revival. Actor and writer Harry Fiersten (Mrs. Doubtfire, Mulan, and Independence Day) will provide the playwright for the live production.

The Wiz is the retelling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with an African American cast. The 1978 film version of The Wiz featured 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.

Casting for the TV and stage versions have yet to be announced.

(Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)