Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige hop aboard NBC’s ‘The Wiz Live’

29 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige Cast in NBC’s Live Production of The Wiz — Plus, Find Out If Beyonce Will Be Involved!.

The Emmy- and Oscar-nominated “Bessie” star will play the all-powerful Wiz, and Blige will play baddie Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West, the network announced Tuesday.

The African American-oriented “The Wiz” originated onstage in the 1970s, and the 1975 Broadway production went on to win seven Tony Awards, including best musical. Latifah’s musical past includes starring in 2002’s Chicago, for which she was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category at the Academy Awards, and 2007’s Hairspray.

The Wiz Live! is executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron — who also made NBC’s previously high-wire musical telecasts, 2013’s The Sound of Music Live! and last year’s Peter Pan Live! Queen Latifah’s Wiz character is described as a mysterious and powerful wizard who holds the keys to the Emerald City but whose metamorphosis from ordinary to extraordinary is itself a hoax. Blige’s evil Evillene holds sway over her minions, the Winkies and Winged Monkeys, and captures Dorothy and her friends to avenge her sister Evvamean and get her silver slippers back. 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.” “I can’t wait to watch Mary bring the badness that is Evillene,” said director Kenny Leon. “Her talent range is off the charts and I know audiences won’t be able to take their eyes off her.” Fatima Robinson of “Dreamgirls” and “Ali” will choreograph the show; Harvey Mason Jr. of “Dreamgirls” and “Pitch Perfect 2” will produce the music; and Stephen Oremus of “The Book of Mormon” and “Kinky Boots” will serve as music director, orchestrator and co-producer of the music.

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