On April 20, actress Keke Palmer uploaded a video of herself SANGING Jazmine Sullivan’s version of ‘Home’ from The Wiz to her social media accounts! The forty-nine second clip of Palmer belting out one of the play’s biggest songs only added to the excitement and speculation of casting for the upcoming live broadcast of the classic on NBC set to air on December 3 and its subsequent revival on Broadway. In an interview with New York Live Palmer exclaimed that she would love to take part in the play if she was presented with the opportunity. The actress is no stranger to the stage. In 2014 she became the first black Cinderella on Broadway where she established herself as a force to be reckoned with on the theatre scene.
When NBC made the announcement at the end of March that its next live musical would be The Wiz the internet went into a tizzy! Immediately theatre lovers begin pitching their dream casts! Theatre names like Anika Noni Rose, Nikki M. James , Tituss Burgess, and Condola Rashad were tossed about and mainstream names like Chris Brown, Usher, Janelle Monae, and Beyonce were also thrown into the mix. There was a great concern from many theatre buffs that NBC would cast “known” names to draw in viewers instead of casting actors and actresses more familiar with the stage. To this director Kenny Leon responded with great confidence that commercial casting would not take place. “We will tell the story with the best, available cast..no tricks- no worries!”, stated the Tony Award winner. Keke Palmer, if casted, would bring both audiences; theatre and popular culture fans.
The Wiz– based on L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz- made its Broadway debut in 1975. The musical went on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical and Best Original Score among other recognitions. The cast included the talents of Stephanie Mills, Ted Ross, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Mabel King. The film adaptation was released in October 1978 and included an equally impressive cast- Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Lena Horne, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross and Richard Pryor. There has not been a Broadway revival of the classic since that time so it’s no wonder everyone is over the moon with excitement! We certainly can’t wait!
Make sure you continue to follow Broadway Black for all of the updates on everything The Wiz!