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NBC to stage live version of 'The Wiz;' show will then head to Broadway

By
Karen Butler
Singer Diana Ross arrives for the 42nd annual American Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles on Nov. 23, 2014. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Singer Diana Ross arrives for the 42nd annual American Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles on Nov. 23, 2014. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., March 30 (UPI) -- NBC says its next live television production of a musical will be The Wiz.

Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, made the announcement Monday.

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No casting has been disclosed yet. The classic 1978 movie musical starred Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Lena Horne. To be executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the Dec. 3 version will feature Cirque du Soleil performers. The company's new stage theatrical division will co-produce the live TV event and then present it as a major Broadway revival for the 2016-17 season.

Director Kenny Leon will stage both productions in collaboration with 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," Greenblatt said in a statement. "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," added 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."

"We're thrilled to have the opportunity to not only produce this as our next live musical for NBC, but to then see it move to Broadway for a new generation to experience," said Zadan.

"It will be a joy to work again with Kenny Leon, who did Steel Magnolias and Raisin in the Sun with us," said Meron.

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