Ne-Yo and Common have joined the cast of NBC’s upcoming holiday production of The Wiz Live!, set to air December 3. Additionally, Elijah Kelley (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) has been cast as the Scarecrow, the role Michael Jackson played in the 1978 movie version (that’s him on the right in the photo). Ne-Yo is set to play the Tin Man, and Common will play the non-singing role of the gatekeeper of Oz.
The trio joins recently cast Shanice Williams who landed the role of Dorothy following a nationwide audition. NBC’s production also will feature Queen Latifah as the Wiz; Mary J. Blige as Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West; David Alan Grier as the Cowardly Lion; and Stephanie Mills, who played Dorothy in the original Broadway production, as Auntie Em. Uzo Aduba will play Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, and Amber Riley will play Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North.
The Wiz Live!, produced by Universal Television in association with Cirque Du Soleil Theatrical, is adapted from The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz by L. Frank Baum, with a book by William F. Brown and music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will executive produce. Kenny Leon (Broadway’s A Raisin In The Sun, Holler If Ya Hear Me) is stage director and Matthew Diamond is TV director, with Harvey Fierstein providing new written material. Choreographer Fatima Robinson is also on board, along with music producer Harvey Mason Jr. and Stephen Oremus as music director, orchestrator and co-producer of the music.
Kelley is repped by MGMT and attorney Lev Ginsburg.