NBC just added two big names to the cast of their forthcoming live musical event “The Wiz Live!”
On Tuesday, the network announced megastars Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige will join Stephanie Mills – who is set to play “Auntie Em” – and the rest of the cast of the network’s TV special. According to a press release, Queen Latifah will star as “the Wiz,” while Mary J. Blige will portray the role of “Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West.”
“I can’t wait to watch Mary bring the badness that is Evillene,” director Kenny Leon said in the release. “Her talent range is off the charts and I know audiences won’t be able to take their eyes off her.”
Executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron expressed their excitement reuniting with Queen Latifah, who also worked with the duo in “Hairspray” and the TV film “Steel Magnolias.”
“We are so happy reuniting with Latifah, said Zadan and Meron. “We’ve been friends for a long time and we’ve had quite a lot of success together. To see her play the iconic role of the Wiz and make it her own is going to be one of the joys of producing this event.”
The special will mark the third installment in the network’s franchise of live musical events. The television production will then be followed with a 2016-2017 Broadway revival of the musical.
The production's lead role, Dorothy, has yet to be filled. During a May interview with The Huffington Post, Brandy talked about her wish to star as Dorothy in the revival of “The Wiz.”
“That is a dream role for me. It’s just something that I really want to experience: being Dorothy on Broadway,” she said. “I’ve been putting it out there. So I think the word is getting out that’s something I would really like to do.”
NBC’s “The Wiz Live!” is set to air on Dec. 3.
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