Margaret here. Earlier this week, NBC announced that this December they will be following the surprise ratings smash that was The Sound of Music Live and the more modestly-rated Peter Pan Live with a third simulcast musical: The Wiz! Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (fresh off their third and likely final Oscar ceremony) are returning, with Harvey Fierstein on board to augment William F. Brown's original book. The team is also partnering with Cirque du Soleil for the production, with plans to later move it to Broadway.
The 1975 "Super Soul Musical" is, for many reasons, an excellent choice. Because it's a pop musical, the network heads' desire to stunt cast with big stars will actually serve the material. And it's become a staple in high school productions because of its generosity with its musical parts- it requires a deep cast, with 9 characters who have their own show-stoppable numbers.
Like with most pop music, the score to The Wiz is only as strong as the people performing it, and the right actor can take even the least crucial number and make it into a sensation. That makes casting especially crucial. We owe it to the good people of NBC to make their jobs easy!
Here's my dream cast: