David Alan Grier to Play Cowardly Lion in NBC’s ‘The Wiz Live!’

David Alan Grier has the courage to explore live TV.

The comedian and three-time Tony Award nominee has joined NBC’s production of “The Wiz Live!.” He’ll play the Cowardly Lion, the famously timid friend of the lost Dorothy who accompanies her down the Yellow Brick Road in the hopes that their journey will lead him to find some courage.

Grier broke out via Fox’s 1990s sketch show “In Living Color.” His TV credits also include “Crank Yankers” and “Happy Endings.” His stage credits include a co-starring role in the original Broadway production of “Dreamgirls” and his film credits include “A Soldier’s Story” with Howard E. Rollins and Denzel Washington and “Jumanji” with Robin Williams. He will soon appear on the NBC sitcom “The Carmichael Show,” which premieres Aug. 26.

“The Wiz Live!” is adapted from L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” with a book by William F. Brown and music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls. It is produced by Universal Television in association with Cirque Du Soleil Theatrical. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who worked with NBC on other live musical specials “The Sound of Music” and “Peter Pan,” are exec producing. Kenny Leon serves as stage director and Matthew Diamond as TV director. Harvey Fierstein is providing new written material. The cast also includes Stephanie Mills, who starred in the original Broadway version of the musical, as well as Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige.

“The Wiz Live!” premieres Dec. 3 on NBC.

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