When The Wiz Live! was announced for television, it was also announced that the production seen on NBC would come to Broadway soon thereafter. But producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are unable to find a theatre.
“The goal was to get The Wiz Live! to Broadway,” says Meron to invited press on a Hairspray Live! conference call. “But, as anybody on the call who knows about what is going on in the theatre [knows that] there is always a log-jam in terms of the available and appropriate theatre that we need for this show. It’s kind of like jets lining up on the runway. Unfortunately, we’re still on the runway with that.”
Zadan added, “We did plan to do The Wiz immediately after we did the television production, and as Neil said, there was a problem—not with the show, but the fact that when we went to the theatre owners, there were no theatres available, so it kept getting delayed because there were no houses. The future of that has not been determined…”
With no solid plans in place for a Broadway revival of The Wiz, casting for the production is up in the air, but the producers hope to transfer as many of the NBC production’s players as possible.
“To keep that cast from The Wiz Live! would be the dream of all times,” said Meron, “but it is going to depend upon availability and timing and desire in terms of where people are in their lives when we eventually get the theatre. So the answer would be yes, we would love to have as many as want to do it, but who knows.”
The cast included Shanice Williams as Dorothy, Stephanie Mills (The Wiz’s original Dorothy) as Auntie Em, Queen Latifah as The Wiz, Mary J. Blige as Evillene, David Alan Grier as the Cowardly Lion, Uzo Aduba as Glinda, Amber Riley as Addaperle, Elijah Kelley as the Scarecrow, Ne-Yo as the Tin Man and Common as the Bouncer.
As for transferring their live production of Hairspray, which hits NBC December 7 at 8 PM, to Broadway, Meron said, “We haven’t even discussed that.”