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David Alan Grier Will Play The Cowardly Lion In The Wiz Live on NBC

Drew Shade

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Wow! Its becoming more and more real. It has officially been announced by producers Craig Zadan & Neil Meron that Tony Award nominee David Alan Grier had joined the cast of #TheWizLive as The Cowardly Lion. If this isn’t music to your ears that I simply do not know what is. Grier has been nominated for a Tony Award three times since his debut in 1981 (Gerwshin’s Porgy & Bess, Race, The First), his work is solid. So, its great to hear that he will join the live musical set to air on NBC Dec 3rd, as previously reported.

Grier will join the Academy Award nominee Queen Latifah & Grammy Award winner Mary J. Blige in the cast of The Wiz Live, set to air on NBC Dec. 3rd. Latifah will play The Wiz, a role originated on stage by the incomparable Andre De Shields (Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Full Monty). Blige will portray the role of Evillene, the horrible wicked witch known for the upbeat “Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News.” They join Stephanie Mills as Aunt Em, who was also previously announced.

Tony Award winner Kenny Leon will direct & Fatima Robinson will choreograph, as previously announced. The show will also head to Broadway in 2016 with Leon directing. The Wiz for NBC will partner with Cirque du Soleil to bring the live and Broadway productions to life. The original book of the show was written by William F. Brown. This time around, Broadway legend Harvey Fierstein will add new material to the book.

Universal Television will produce. Casting for both the NBC telecast and Cirque du Soleil‘s Broadway production will be announced at a later date.

Tell us what you think about this casting in the comments below and also check out a performance from the the last time David Alan Grier was on Broadway in Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess and a tribute to Broadway which originally aired on the hit comedy show “In Living Color.”

Founder/Editor-In-Chief of BroadwayBlack.com | Actor | Artist | 1/3 of @OffBookPodcast | Theatre connoisseur | All Audra Everything | Caroline over Change | I'm Not Charl Brown | Norm Lewis is my play cousin | Producing an all-black production of Mame starring Jenifer Lewis in my head

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Just Wow!

Broadway said “What Blackout?!” and Took Their Talents Outside

Broadway Black

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The power went clean out in most of Manhattan on Saturday night. The Broadway League released a statement saying most of the shows were canceled and that the power should be restored before the following Sunday matinee. That did end up happening but right after the blackout happened casts of Broadway shows took to the streets to offer up their voices in song to the delight of the many people in the streets who were evacuated from the Broadway houses and neighboring establishments.

Take a look at what shows popped off in the streets of midtown Manhattan!

    1. Of course, Tony Award Winner André De Shields snaps off with the cast of Hadestown at the Walter Kerr Theatre

2. The cast of Aint Too Proud singing Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” to someone in the crowd from their dressing room windows at the Imperial Theatre. The tweet with the video it’s the cast of Hamilton but twitter did its thing and they quickly corrected them. It was an honest mistake, Hamilton is right next door.)

3. The cast of Come From Away:

4. The cast of Waitress:

5. The cast of Frozen:

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Just Wow!

West Side Story’s Cool Reimagined by Los York Studios And It’s Pretty… Cool!

Broadway Black

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Photo: Youtube

As described in their mission statement, Los York is “an integrated production company that executes live action, design, and experimental projects.” An older project of the company resurfaced recently, a reimagined rendition of West Side Story‘s “Cool” scene, is now circulating throughout the internet. The Emmy Award winner and director of the video, Seth Epstein has brilliantly captured the story of rivalry within two different ethnic groups, but this time with more melanin!

The video also features music by Jimek (Run the World Dave Aude Club Remix), and choreography by Keone and Mari Madrid (SYTYCD).

The electrifying footwork, where pirouettes are replaced with pop locking and break dancing in the place of battements, provides hope for bridging racial gaps and relieving tensions. This style is more interpretive, with urban based movements that add an extra layer to some of the barriers printed in the original 1957 production.One thing that I appreciate about the classic musical West Side Story is its transcendent nature and ability to comfortably conform to whatever generation of interest.

Above all else, West Side Story is a love story, a modernized interpretation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The timelessness in the modernized story–tension between two lovers of opposite gangs–reveals past and present issues found in American society however old and reoccurring they may be. The Los York video demonstrates that flexibility and once again creates an even bigger space for a fabulous classic.

Watch for yourself!

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Twitter: @BroadwayBlack

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