‘The Wiz’ slated to be NBC’s next live musical event in December

Ross Jackson Russel
Diana Ross, center, as Dorothy, Michael Jackson, right, as Scarecrow, and Nipsey Russell as Tinman perform during filming of the movie musical “The Wiz” in New York’s World Trade Center in 1977.
(Associated Press)

NBC is easing down the road for its next live musical production.

The network that brought viewers live broadcasts of new versions of “The Sound of Music” and “Peter Pan” has slated “The Wiz” for its next live production on Dec. 3. Cirque Du Soleil will partner with NBC for the TV production, as well as present a major Broadway revival of the musical for the 2016-17 season.

Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon (“A Raisin in the Sun”)will stage both the TV production and stage revival of “The Wiz,” while Broadway icon Harvey Fierstein (“Kinky Boots”, “Hairspray”) will contribute new songs to the original Broadway book by William F. Brown.




3:20 p.m. A previous version of this post mistakenly labeled Leon as producer.


“We love this yearly tradition and we’re more excited than ever to not only bring another Broadway musical to America’s living rooms, but also see it land on Broadway as well,” said NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt in a statement.


Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who executive produced “The Sound of Music Live!” and “Peter Pan,” will be executive producers of the new “The Wiz.” NBC will partner with Cirque Du Soleil Theatrical for the production.



2:50 p.m.: A previous version of this post misspelled producer Craig Zadan’s name.


NBC for months had been considering which musical would be mounted for its next live production. Greenblatt several months ago mentioned that “The Music Man” was also a possibility.

While the live version of “The Sound of Music,” starring former “American Idol” winner Carrie Underwood, was a huge hit in 2013, “Peter Pan” which starred Alison Williams and Christopher Walken, did not score as well in December, attracting half the viewership of “The Sound of Music.”

“The Wiz,” an African American version of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” first opened on Broadway in 1975 and won seven Tonys, including best musical. It was made into a poorly received film in 1978 that starred Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.


The release from NBC did not mention the movie or specify if it would be a predominantly African American cast.

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