NBC is set to ease on down the road with its next live musical, with the network announcing Monday that it will stage an adaptation of "The Wiz" in December -- with a special assist.
NBC revealed that "The Wiz" will once again be produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (the duo behind the network's previous live efforts, "Sound of Music Live!" and "Peter Pan Live!," and the past three Oscars telecasts). But this year, the network is pulling out all the stops for the broadcast, which will also feature a collaboration with acrobatic troupe Cirque du Soleil.
And the ambitious plans don't stop there: After the live staging airs on NBC in December, the show will then move to Broadway for the 2016-2017 season. Tony winner and Broadway veteran Harvey Fierstein ("Mrs. Doubtfire," "La Cage aux Folles," "Hairspray") will work on adapting the show's original book by William F. Brown, and Tony winner Kenny Leon ("Steel Magnolias," "A Raisin in the Sun") will direct both the NBC version and the Broadway revival.
"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 in a statement. "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 Wiz" is an adaptation of "The Wizard of Oz," traditionally featuring an African-American and multicultural cast. It opened on Broadway in 1975, snagging multiple Tonys including Best Musical, and was adapted into a 1978 feature film that starred Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Lena Horne, Nipsey Russell, and Richard Pryor.
Look for "The Wiz" on NBC on December 3.
[via: The Hollywood Reporter]
Photo credit: Associated Press