NBC Will Reconnect Many Black People to Their Childhoods By Bringing Back ‘The Wiz’
The Wiz will be airing live on television in addition to getting back on Broadway thanks to NBC’s partnership with Cirque du Soleil.
The return of The Wiz will start with the December airing of the production on NBC, something that has become sort of a tradition for the major network.
Back in December of 2013, NBC aired The Sound of Music and captured nearly 19 million viewers.
These ratings plummeted in 2014 when the network aired Peter Pan Live! for their annual live musical. Peter Pan Live! had mixed reviews and garnered less than half the audience of The Sound of Music.
Despite the falter in last year’s ratings, there are high hopes that The Wiz will present a much-needed comeback.
With the clear support for diverse television programming, The Wiz certainly seems like a smart strategic choice on the network’s behalf.
NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt said back in January that the network was still juggling two options—The Wiz and The Music Man.
It isn’t clear what led the network to decide to commit to The Wiz.
After making its live television debut, The Wiz will kick off its Broadway return for the 2016-2017 season.
“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,” Greenblatt said in a statement on Monday.
Based on the credentials of the team that will be working to bring The Wiz back to life, it certainly seems like the theatrical production will be in good hands.
Kenny Leon, the Tony-Award-winning director behind A Raisin in the Sun, will stage the TV production while teaming up with Harvey Fierstein for the Broadway revival.
Fierstein is a critically acclaimed playwright and actor with ties to Hairspray and Torch Song Trilogy.
The network will keep the same executive producers, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who were responsible for NBC’s previous live musicals throughout the years.
The big announcement has also laid the foundation for speculation, guessing games and finger-crossing to begin.
Casting for the TV and stage versions has not been announced but fans are already eagerly waiting to see what big names will be attached to this year’s production. Can’t you just see Chris Brown as The Scarecrow, the part made famous by a young Michael Jackson?
And what about Nicki Minaj as Dorothy? Okay, too much?