NBC will debut a new live television production of the hit Broadway musical “The Wiz” on Thursday, Dec. 3, to be executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, in partnership with Cirque du Soleil, whose new stage theatrical division will co-produce the live TV event and then present it as a major Broadway revival for the 2016-17 season.
Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon will stage both the television production and Broadway revival of “The Wiz,” in collaboration with Tony winner and Broadway icon Harvey Fierstein, who will contribute new material to the original Broadway book by William F. Brown.
“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to not only produce this as our next live musical for NBC, but to then see it move to Broadway for a new generation to experience,” said Zadan. “It will be a joy to work again with Kenny Leon, who did ‘Steel Magnolias’ and ‘Raisin in the Sun’ with us,” added Meron.
Universal Television will produce.
Casting for both the NBC telecast and Cirque du Soleil’s Broadway production will be announced at a later date.
“The Wiz” is adapted from “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum, with a book by William F. Brown, and music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls.
The production opened on Broadway in 1975 at the Majestic Theatre and won 7 Tonys, including best musical.
The musical ran for 4 years on Broadway.
“The Wiz” tells the classic story in an African American/multicultural context. 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.