SCOOP: NBC's THE WIZ LIVE! Will Feature New Song by NE-YO, Plus Movie Tune for 'Scarecrow'
Tonight, executive producer Neil Meron and actors Shanice Williams, Elijah Kelley, David Alan Grier, and NE-YO got together for a Q&A on NBC's THE WIZ LIVE! at the Apple Store in Soho. BroadwayWorld is excited to give you the scoop on what the team revealed at the event!
The live TV musical will feature a new song, written by NE-YO, Elijah Kelley, Harvey Mason, Jr. and Stephen Oremus. It is sung by Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion as they build up their confidence to kill Evillene. The additional tune is part of the whole company's goal to take THE WIZ to a whole new level for modern audiences.
Also confirmed, Elijah Kelley will be performing "You Can't Win" from THE WIZ movie in place of "I Was Born On The Day Before Yesterday" from the musical.
NBC's upcoming holiday production of THE WIZ LIVE! will air Thursday, Dec. 3. The production will star newcomer Shanice Williams as Dorothy alongside Grammy and Golden Globe-winner Queen Latifah as the Wizard, nine-time Grammy-winner Mary J. Blige as Evillene, original Dorothy, Stephanie Mills, as Auntie Em, David Alan Grier as the Cowardly Lion, NE-YO as the Tin Man, and Elijah Kelley as the Scarecrow.
THE WIZ LIVE! is adapted from "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum, with a book by William F. Brown, and music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls. The production opened on Broadway in 1975 at the Majestic Theatre, starring Mills. It won seven Tonys, including best musical. As previously announced, Mills is set to return to the show on NBC, this time in the role of 'Auntie Em'.Craig Zadan and Neil Meron ("The Sound of Music Live!," "Peter Pan Live!") serve as executive producers. Tony winner Kenny Leon will direct with Harvey Fierstein providing new written material. Fatima Robinson serves as choreographer. "The Wiz Live!" is produced by Universal Television in association with Cirque Du Soleil Theatrical. THE WIZ tells the classic story hundreds of millions of people have read in the L. Frank Baum books and then saw in the much-beloved 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz," but retold in an African-American/multicultural context. Dorothy, a young woman from Kansas, is swept up in a tornado and relocated to a fantasy world that is inhabited by munchkins, good and bad witches, and, of course, flying monkeys. She eventually takes a path down a yellow brick road to find a wizard who can help her go home and along the way meets a scarecrow, tin man and cowardly lion, who all learn to help one another.