NBC is encouraging musical theater fans to ease on down the road once again.
The network announced today that their next live musical event would be The Wiz, which won the Tony for best musical in 1975 and also received a cult film adaptation starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson in 1978.
‘The Wiz’ Set as NBC’s Next Live Musical
As The Hollywood Reporter notes, The Wiz is adapted from L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and centers on “Dorothy, who is swept up in a tornado and relocated to a fantasy world that is inhabited by munchkins, good and bad witches, and 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.”
Casting details have yet to be announced, but we have a few dream suggestions.
She’d never do it (would she?), but isn’t it about time Beyonce appeared in something for kids/families? The Ross/Beyonce connection is already strong, so it might be appealing to Bey to continue it. Haters would say she’s a bit too old to play a teenager, but weird ages has never stopped Hollywood before. Plus, casting Queen Bey ensures that people would tune in, so the other parts could be cast with lesser-known (and mega-talented) stage actors. Also acceptable: Keke Palmer, who appeared as Cinderella on Broadway earlier this year and is closer to the correct age.
The Scarecrow: Bruno Mars
Mars has charm for days, and the second the announcement was made, his name was floated on Twitter. Whomever plays the Scarecrow will have the undesirable task of taking on a role made famous by none other than Michael Jackson, but Mars may be up to the task. His Saturday Night Live stints prove he also has great comedic timing and is quick on his feet, in addition to being a talented singer/dancer.
The Cowardly Lion: Corbin Bleu
NBC will want to make sure they’re bringing in teenage viewers in some way, and casting a High School Musical alum is one way to do that. In addition to that franchise, Bleu more than held his own when he appeared on the Great White Way in In The Heights in 2009. Another fresh face is Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt breakout Tituss Burgess. Anyone who has watched the show knows he’s both extremely likable and musically talented.
Glinda, The Good Witch of the South: Jennifer Hudson
Hudson can deliver an emotional performance in her sleep, making her the perfect person to tackle Glinda’s inspirational number.
The Wizard: Audra McDonald
It’s about time the wizard was a woman, and McDonald (and her ultra-powerful pipes) is just the person for the job. In addition to her six Tony wins (any questions?), she was a standout in one of NBC’s previous live-musical extravaganzas, The Sound of Music.
Check out one of McDonald’s performances here.
Who would you like to see in The Wiz?