Stephanie Mills, who played Dorothy in the original Broadway production of The Wiz, has become the first actor cast in NBC’s upcoming The Wiz Live! special, slated for the coming holiday season. She will play Auntie Em. NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt made the announcement at NBC’s upfront presentation. He said that the network is launching a talent search for a young girl to play Dorothy.
Executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (The Sound of Music Live!, Peter Pan Live!), directed by Kenny Leon with Harvey Fierstein providing new written material, The Wiz Live! is the first NBC live musical to be done in collaboration with Cirque Du Soleil Theatrical whose signature styles of visual acrobatics will be used in key scenes, including the tornado and the flying monkeys.
In other event programming news, the Dolly Parton movie Coat Of Many Colors also is eyed for a holiday premiere, Greenblatt said.