Now that the full cast for NBC’s The Wiz Live has been announced, fans of the acclaimed musical are eagerly awaiting its airdate of December 3rd. Recently, Uzo Aduba and David Alan Grier spent some time ramping up expectations. Aduba, who will play “Glinda the Good Witch,” made an appearance on NBC’s “The Today Show” where she discussed her excitement as part of the cast.
On the “Today Show,” Aduba, best known for her Emmy-winning portrayal of “Suzanne ‘Crazy Eyes’ Warren” on the hit Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black,” discussed the moment she received the call telling her that she got the part, saying “I just could not believe that they offered me the job. What a company to be a part of, just an amazing cast of people. And just to be a part of this show, I’m excited.”
Aduba also mentioned how three years ago she was crying on the subway returning from an audition when she decided to quit show business and re-train as a lawyer after a stretch of not receiving any roles. But, 45 minutes later, she got a phone call telling her that she was up for the role of “Crazy Eyes.” Of course, that seminal moment changed her life. Quoting the song “Believe in Yourself” from The Wiz, she says, “If you do believe, anything is possible.”
“Getting to go into the Wiz and to sing a song like ‘if you believe’ seems all that more impactful,” she says.
Meanwhile, Grier, who’s been cast as “The Cowardly Lion,” (and is HILARIOUS in The Carmichael Show, by the way) appeared in the production’s first promo. In the first preview for the live performance, Grier discusses his role and how he expects it to be groundbreaking.
“I’m really excited to be playing the cowardly lion,” he says. “More importantly, my daughter said, ‘Daddy, are you going to look like a lion lion?’ I said it’s going to be a little different: I’m going to have dreads. We’re doing a whole new vision of the lion.”
He also has another commercial where he talks about telling his friends & family exactly how they’ll be able to watch him in The Wiz Live. Just FYI, there are no tickets! It’s on television. NBC to be exact.
As previously announced, Grier and Aduba join a star-studded cast that includes Stephanie Mills, Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Amber Riley, Elijah Kelly, Common, Ne-Yo, and newcomer Shanice Williams. Tony Award winner Kenny Leon will direct and Fatima Robinson will choreograph. The show will also head to Broadway in 2016 with Leon directing. The Wiz will partner with Cirque du Soleil to bring both 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. The show will be executive produced by The Sound of Music and Peter Pan duo Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.