Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige join cast of NBC’s live production of ‘The Wiz’

29 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘The Wiz Live!’ now has its Wiz and Witch: Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige.

The network announced via Twitter that “Chicago” actress Queen Latifah and singer Mary J. Musical fans still have a few months before they have the chance to watch “The Wiz Live!” — the song-and-dance adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz” — but they’re already getting an idea of what’s to come thanks to some big casting news. Blige will star in the December production of “The Wiz.” It was previously announced that actress Stephanie Mills, who starred as Dorothy in the original 1975 Broadway production of “The Wiz,” will be portraying Auntie Em. Latifah, who received rave reviews for her musical maneuvers in 2002’s big-screen version of “Chicago,” will take on the part of the seemingly powerful Wiz.

Blige will play the story’s ultimate baddie, the Wicked Witch of the West, aka Evillene. “Wiz” executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have worked with Latifah several times before (in “Chicago,” 2007’s “Hairspray” and in the 2012 television production of “Steel Magnolias). “We are so happy reuniting with Latifah,” they said in a press release. “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 production duo are also no strangers when it comes to small-screen musicals, as they also worked together on NBC’s 2013 production of “The Sound of Music Live!” Of course, the television event won’t be the first time the stage musical has come to the screen. 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. Ratings for NBC’s 2014 production, “Peter Pan Live!,” were lower and actors Allison Williams and Christopher Walken, who headlined “Pan,” may not have had the drawing power of Underwood.

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