‘Orange Is the New Black,’ ‘Glee’ stars join ‘The Wiz Live!’
NEW YORK (AP) — Uzo Aduba from “Orange Is the New Black” and Amber Riley from “Glee” have joined the cast of NBC’s Dec. 3 live production of “The Wiz Live!” as witches.
Aduba, best known for her role as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on the Netflix series set in a prison, will play Glinda, the Good Witch of the South. Riley, who played Mercedes Jones on “Glee” for six seasons, will play Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North.
The rest of the cast includes Queen Latifah as The Wiz, Mary J. Blige as the Wicked Witch of the West and David Alan Grier as the Cowardly Lion. Newcomer Shanice Williams from New Jersey will play Dorothy.
The show 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 and won seven Tonys, including best musical.
The original Broadway production featured Stephanie Mills as Dorothy, Dee Dee Bridgewater as good witch Glinda and Andre De Shields as the Wiz. Mills returned as Dorothy in a 1984 revival and will play Auntie Em in the live version.
A 1978 movie version of “The Wiz” starred Diana Ross, Lena Horne and Richard Pryor in those respective roles. Michael Jackson co-starred as the Scarecrow, with Nipsey Russell as the Tinman and Ted Ross as the Lion.
NBC has revived the live TV musical, scoring nearly 19 million viewers for “The Sound of Music” starring Carrie Underwood in December 2013, although less than half that number tuned in for last year’s “Peter Pan Live!”