NBC has announced that Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige have signed on to appear in the network’s musical adaptation of The Wiz. The two superstars will both take on major roles in The Wiz Live!, with Blige playing Evilline, the wicked witch of the west and Latifah as the Wiz.
Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russel and Ted Ross starred in the classic 1978 movie adaptation of the popular play. The movie was a smash hit, and it’s safe to say NBC’s stage adaptation is aiming to be just as big with their choice of casting.
Executive producers of the project, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, have worked with Latifah in the past on other projects, including the acclaimed film, Chicago (which earned her an Oscar nomination), 2007’s Hairspray, and the 2012 Lifetime adaptation of Steel Magnolias.
“We are so happy reuniting with Latifah,” Zadan and Meron said in a press release. “We’ve been friends for a long time and we’ve had quite a lot of success together. To see her play the iconic role of the Wiz and make it her own is going to be one of the joys of producing this event.”
Blige as Evillene is also well anticipated.
“I can’t wait to watch Mary bring the badness that is Evillene, her talent range is off the charts and I know audiences won’t be able to take their eyes off her,” said director Kenny Leon.
The only other confirmed cast member is Stephanie Mills who was the original Dorothy in the Broadway play. She is set to play Auntie Em this time around. Though there are no other confirmed cast members, E! News reports that there is talk of pop superstar Beyoncé joining the cast as Glinda the Good Witch. The role has previously been played by Dee Dee Bridgewater and Lena Horne. An unnamed source also told E! News that Orange Is The New Black’s Uzo Aduba is up for the role as well.
The Wiz Live! is set to air on December 3 on NBC.