NBC To Air ‘The Wiz’ as Next Live TV Musical Special
According to BlackFilm.com, NBC announced that its next live musical television event will “The Wiz.” Airing on Thursday, Dec. 3, “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, presented by Cirque du Soleil. Kenny Leonwill direct both NBC’s production and the Broadway revival, along withHarvey Fierstein, who will contribute new material to the original Broadway book byWilliam F. Brown.Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who exec produced NBC’s “Sound of Music” and “Peter Pan,” return as exec producers. The duo also recently produced Academy Awards. THE WIZ is a musical with music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls and bookby William F. Brown. It is a retelling of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Ozin the context of African-American culture. It opened on October 21, 1974 at the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland and moved to the Majestic Theatre with a new cast on January 5, 1975. The 1975 Broadway production won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical.The musical was an early example of Broadway’s mainstream acceptance of works with an all-black cast. The musical has had revivals in New York, London, San Diego and theNetherlands, and a limited-run revival was presented by Encores! at New York City Center in June 2009. A film adaptation was released in 1978. That film starredDiana Ross, Michael Jackson(in his first film),Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Mabel King, Theresa Merritt, Thelma Carpenter, Lena Horne, andRichard Pryor. The musical toured the US in 1976 and the show was revived on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre from May 24, 1984, through June 3, 1984, closing after 13 performances and 7 previews. Directed byGeoffrey Holder, the cast featured Stephanie Millsas Dorothy.