Uzo Aduba, Amber Riley join cast of ‘The Wiz Live!’
NBC announced Emmy-award winner Uzo Aduba and “Glee” star Amber Riley will join the cast of “The Wiz Live!” a musical adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz.”
Aduba, known for her role as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black,” will play Glinda, the Good Witch of the South. Aduba, who graduated from the Boston University School of Fine Arts, made her Broadway debut in “Coram Boy” in 2007, followed by the revival of “Godspell” in 2011.
Riley, who played Mercedes Jones in Ryan Murphy’s hit Fox musical show, will play Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North. After “Glee,” Riley went on to win the 17th season of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars”
Based on L. Frank Baum children’s tale, the musical originated onstage in the 1970s, and the 1975 Broadway production went on to win seven Tony Awards, including best musical. NBC’s adaptation is slated for Dec. 3.
“We are so happy to welcome two actors we’ve admired and wanted so much to work with,” executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron said in a statement. “We look forward to showcasing the amazing musical talents of Amber and we are eager to introduce Uzo’s remarkable singing voice for those who know her solely as an extraordinary dramatic actress.”
The two new additions join a roster of previously announced A-list talent, including Queen Latifah (as the powerful Wiz), Mary J. Blige (the Wicked Witch of the West), Shanice Williams (Dorothy) and David Alan Grier (the Cowardly Lion).
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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.
Riley also shared her excitement over the news on Twitter. She wrote: “I could seriously burst right now you guys made noise and made NBC take notice! Thanks guys *HUGS* #thewizlivenbc”
“The Wiz Live!” marks NBC’s third live musical television adaptation, following high ratings for “The Sound of Music,” which starred Carrie Underwood as Maria, and “Peter Pan Live,” which starred Allison Williams.
Staff writer Nardine Saad contributed to this report.
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