Ne-Yo, Common and Elijah Kelley Are Latest To Join Star-Studded Wiz

News   Ne-Yo, Common and Elijah Kelley Are Latest To Join Star-Studded Wiz More casting has been announced for NBC's Dec. 3 live broadcast of the Tony Award-winning musical The Wiz. Producer Craig Zadan announced Aug. 13 via Twitter that Oscar-winning hip hop artist Common, singer/song-writer Ne-Yo and "Hairspray" actor Elijah Kelley have joined the cast.

The news comes after last week's announcements that "Orange Is the New Black" Emmy Award winner Uzo Aduba and "Glee" star Amber Riley are also among the cast.

Aduba, also seen on Broadway in Godspell, will play Glinda, with Riley slated to play Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North. Shanice Williams, an 18-year-old newcomer from New Jersey, will star as Dorothy. Kenny Leon is directing The Wiz, with Harvey Fierstein adapting the book for TV. This latest incarnation of The Wiz is also on track for a full-scale Broadway revival.

Ne-Yo
Ne-Yo

The impressive lineup for the live television event also includes original Broadway star Stephanie Mills as Auntie Em, Queen Latifah as The Wiz, Mary J. Blige as Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West and David Alan Grier as The Cowardly Lion.

William F. Brown wrote the book for the soulful contemporary retelling of L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." The Wiz also features music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls. The original 1974 production, directed by Geoffrey Holder and choreographed by George Faison, won seven Tony Awards including Best Musical. The premiere Broadway company featured Hinton Battle, Tiger Haynes, Stephanie Mills, Ted Ross, Dee Dee Bridgewater, André De Shields and Mabel King. Diana Ross and Michael Jackson starred in the film version. The musical, according to NBC, is described as such: "Dorothy, a young woman from Kansas, is swept up in a tornado and relocated to a fantasy world that is inhabited by munchkins, good and bad witches, and, of course, flying monkeys. She eventually takes a path down a yellow brick road to find a wizard who can help her go home and along the way meets a scarecrow, tin man and cowardly lion, who all learn to help one another."

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