NBC To Remake "The Wiz" As Live Television Musical
(AllHipHop News) When the holiday season rolls back around at the end of 2015, television viewers will have the chance to see a new version of The Wiz. NBC has announced the network will air a live remake of the musical on December 3.
Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are set to produce. The duo handled the reigns of NBC's previous TV musicals The Sound Of Music and Peter Pan. Tony winner Kenny Leon (Holler If Ya Hear Me, A Raisin In The Sun) will direct the presentation, and Cirque du Soleil is involved in the production as well. The Leon directed Wiz will then move to Broadway in 2016.
"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 Bob Greenblatt. "It's a natural next step for our live musical events, and we're so pleased to be in business with this award-winning creative team and Scott Zeiger, president and managing director of Cirque du Soleil's new theatrical division. Cirque's incredible imagination will help bring the fantasy world of Oz vividly to life and give this great show a modern spin on the age-old story we all love."
The original The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical "Wonderful Wizard of Oz" opened on Broadway in 1975. The play won seven Tony Awards including Best Musical. The film adaptation of The Wiz was released in 1978. It featured an all-star cast including Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Lena Horne, and Richard Pryor.
NBC's decision to recreate The Wiz later this year comes on the heels of the massive success of the Hip Hop musical soap opera Empire. The Fox drama attracted an average of 16.5 million viewers for its two-part season finale on March 18.