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The Wiz To Ease on Down as NBC's Next Live Musical

The Wiz To Ease on Down as NBC's Next Live Musical

The Wiz

Premiering December 3, the cast has not yet been announced...but Willow Smith's around. Just saying.

Call me crazy, but when I think of home, I think of a place where there's love overflowing. Because I grew up with The Wiz and openly love it more than The Wizard of Oz.

I mean, a 34-year-old Diana Ross (rocking a natural) as Dorothy. Michael Jackson stealing every scene like a thief in the night as the Scarecrow. Lena Horne being Lena Horne. It was a great cast with great music that nonetheless resulted in an all right film.

Upon its release in 1978, critics were generally unkind -- it has a 30% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes -- but it still scored four Oscar nominations (all technical) and remains a touchstone in black culture.

The original Broadway musical, however, was an unqualified success when it opened in 1975, snatching seven Tonys including Best Musical and making a star of young Stephanie Mills.

So NBC has quite the task on its hands if it hopes to bring this classic to life -- especially after the shitshows they made out of The Sound of Music and Peter Pan.

But the Peacock is stepping its game up. In addition to returning executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, Cirque du Soleil will co-produce the special. Then next year, the The Wiz will get its own Broadway revival. According to Deadline:

Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon will stage both the television production and Broadway revival, in collaboration with Tony winner and Broadway icon Harvey Fierstein, who will contribute new material to the original Broadway book by William F. Brown.

So Cirque du Soleil and Harvey Fierstein -- this show could possibly be watchable. And not in a hate-watch kind of way. It could even be good if they can get Diana Ross to take time off from being everything to make a cameo as Glinda the Good Witch. She could float in for a few minutes to belt out "If You Believe " like Lena did in the original Wiz then float away with an Emmy.

If you're unfamiliar with The Wiz, here's a clip of Ms. Ross and MJ following the yellow brick road via Motown Blvd:

Les Fabian Brathwaite won't carry nothin' that might be a load.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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Les Fabian Brathwaite