NBC has revealed that The Wiz will be the network’s third annual live-musical event. The latest adaptation of the 1974 Broadway show, a retelling of The Wizard of Oz with an all-black cast and a Quincy Jones-produced soundtrack, will be co-produced by Cirque du Soleil’s theatrical division. After the musical airs live on NBC on December 3rd, the new Wiz will then “Ease on Down the Road” to Broadway with a revival scheduled for the 2016/’17 season, Variety writes.
At the Television Critics Association panel in January, NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt announced that NBC had settled on two finalists for their next live musical, The Wiz and The Music Man. The network ultimately opted for the Tony-winning Wiz, which was previously adapted for a 1978 film starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Richard Pryor. The Wiz follows the Carrie Underwood-led The Sound of Music and 2014’s Peter Pan adaptation with Girls‘ Allison Williams. On top of The Wiz, NBC is also planning an Underground Railroad musical executive produced by Stevie Wonder.
“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,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “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.”
While NBC’s ratings dropped for last year’s Peter Pan broadcast, that hasn’t scared off fellow networks from going the live-musical route: In January, Fox announced their own plans to bring Grease to the small screen with actresses Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens.