NBC announced today that The Wiz (winner of 7 Tony Awards including Best Musical in 1975) will be the next Live musical production on the network with an airdate of December 3rd.
That will be followed by a major Broadway revival to be co-produced with Cirque du Soleil for the 2016-17 season.
Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who produced the previous "The Sound of Music Live" and "Peter Pan Live" telecasts, are back at the helm for this third live, musical presentation.
Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon will stage both the television production and Broadway revival of "The Wiz" in collaboration with Tony winner and Broadway icon Harvey Fierstein, who will contribute new material to the original Broadway book by William F. Brown.
"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 Greenblatt. "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."
"We are delighted that NBC and Cirque du Soleil will present 'The Wiz,'" said Zeiger. "It's a musical I have wanted to produce for years and it's the perfect show to present under the new Cirque du Soleil Theatrical banner."
Additional creative staff and casting are to be announced at a later date.
I've had mixed feelings about the first two Live musical telecasts, but love the idea of Cirque being involved here.
The Wiz is a terrific score, but as a book musical it remains a bit dated today. With both Cirque and Harvey Fierstein onboard, it sounds promising that the contemporary musical can be brought current again, with new magic added.
The musical made a star out of Stephanie Mills, who went on to a successful recording career after the run of The Wiz on Broadway.
In 1989 she revisited the song "Home," that made her famous. Watch below.