It looks like Uzo Aduba and Amber Riley are going to be playing sisters on NBC’s The Wiz Live!
Aduba will be playing Glinda the Good Witch, and Riley will be playing Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North and Glinda’s sister.
“We are so happy to welcome two actors we’ve admired and wanted so much to work with,” said executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron in a statement. “We look forward to showcasing the amazing musical talents of Amber and we are eager to introduce Uzo’s remarkable singing voice for those who know her solely as an extraordinary dramatic actress.”
These two stars join the already glamorous cast, which includes Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, David Alan Grier and rising star Shanice Williams.
The Wiz Live! airs on Thursday, December 3 on NBC.
Mills played Dorothy in Broadway’s “The Wiz” in 1975 and in a 1984 revival, but will portray Aunti Em in NBC’s live broadcast of the play. The network is looking to find a newcomer to play Dorothy.
NBC announced in March that “The Wiz” would follow NBC’s previous live musical productions “The Sound of Music” and “Peter Pan.” But “The Wiz” will be the first to be co-produced by Cirque du Soleil’s new stage theatrical division, which will also help adapt the show for the Broadway stage.
The announcement was reportedly made at the Peacock network’s New York upfronts, and was later shared on Twitter by executive producer Craig Zadan.
The production will air on Dec. 3, with plans to bring it to the Broadway in the 2016-17 season.
According toVariety.com, NBC has announced it will make its next live musical television event a remake of the 1975 Tony Award-winner “The Wiz.” The remake will air on December 3.
Opening in 1975, “The Wiz” ran for four years on Broadway and won seven Tonys, including best musical. It retells the classic story of “The Wizard of Oz” in an African-American context.
In 1978, the musical was adapted into a movie produced by Motown and starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell and original Broadway cast member Ted Ross. NBC’s announcement of the holiday television event comes at a time when broadcast networks are setting more diversified roles and casting more and more actors of color on TV, following the success of Fox’s “Empire” and ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder,” among other series.
“The Wiz” marks NBC’s third such production, following the success of “The Sound of Music Live!,” starring Carrie Underwood, and “Peter Pan Live!,” starring Allison Williams as the title character.
“The Wiz” will be co-produced by Cirque du Soleil’s new stage theatrical division. After the television event, the musical will make its Broadway revival for the 2016-17 season, also presented by Cirque du Soleil.