Executive producer Craig Zadan shared the news via Twitter.
— Craig Zadan (@craigzadan) July 28, 2015
Latifah will play the mysterious and powerful wizard who holds the keys to the Emerald City, but who is keeping the secret that her metamorphosis from ordinary to extraordinary is a hoax since she only got to Oz as a result of a faulty hot air balloon ride.
Mary J. Blige will play Evillene, better known as the Wicked Witch of the West, who holds sway over the Winkies and the Winged Monkeys that do her bidding. She captures our leads to avenge the unintentional murder of her evil sister, Evvamean, and to get back the powerful silver slippers given to Dorothy by the Good Witch of the North.
NBC is holding a nationwide search to find a fresh face to play lead character Dorothy. The musicians join cast members who include Stephanie Mills, who starred in the original Broadway production of “The Wiz” and who will play Dorothy’s beloved Auntie Em in this version.
“The Wiz: Live!” premieres Dec. 3 on NBC. Zadan is exec producing along with partner Neil Meron. Kenny Leon and Harvey Fierstein are directing. Fierstein also created new material to the original Broadway book by William F. Brown. A co-production with Cirque du Soleil, a stage version of this performance will run on Broadway in 2016-17.