Queen Latifah plays The Wiz, the mysterious and powerful wizard who holds the keys to the Emerald City, but whose metamorphosis from ordinary to extraordinary is itself a hoax. She rose to her lofty position after being transported by accident to Oz in a hot air balloon during a snowstorm. Blige will play Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West, who holds sway over the Winkies and the Winged Monkeys that do her bidding. She captures Dorothy and her friends to avenge the unintentional murder of her evil sister, Evvamean, and to get back the powerful silver slippers given to Dorothy by the Good Witch of the North.
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.
Queen Latifah earned her second Emmy nom as the title character in HBO biopic Bessie as legendary blues singer Bessie Smith. On the film side, she received an Oscar nomination for her role as Matron Mama Morton in Chicago. The multi-Grammy winning Blige most recently appeared on Fox’s Empire and ABC’s Blackish.