The Wiz is coming to the stage and a small screen near you. NBC just announced that the hit 1978 musical would follow Peter Pan and The Sound of Music to be the network's next live-action musical, scheduled to air in December. NBC, we decided to save you some of the grunt work when it comes to casting. Feel free to use any of our suggestions!
The Character: Dorothy Originally Played By: Diana Ross Why She'd Be Perfect: Dorothy needs to be someone who exudes the innocence of childhood, but who can still hold her own alongside an all-star cast. Zendaya is quickly evolving from Disney Channel star to leading lady. This up-and-comer can sing, and we have no doubt that she would do Diana Ross's character justice.
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Taraji P. Henson
The Character: Evillene Originally Played By: Mabel King Why She'd Be Perfect: Taraji would be playing an evil witch. We've all seen her on Empire. Any questions?
The Character: Glinda the Good Witch Originally Played By: Lena Horne Why She'd Be Perfect: Glinda the Good Witch is responsible for telling Dorothy that her silver slippers had the power to take her home. We think Deborah Cox's soothing voice and gentle personality would make us feel better if we just found out that we could've gone home days ago.
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The Character: Aunt Em Originally Played By: Theresa Merritt Why She'd Be Perfect: Aunt Em is the queen of tough love. She adores her niece Dorothy, but she also tells it like it is (come on, Dorothy—you're 24 and still living with your auntie!). Don't act like you can't see Niecy capturing that tough love personality.
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The Character: Toto Why He'd Be Perfect: Instead of bothering with a Yorkie that would mess up the live production, why not cast an lovable sidekick who can also get in some good quips? We're thinking this pint-sized Black-ish star instead. He's adorable, he's got moves and he would keep us grinning.
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The Character: The lead munchkin Why He'd Be Perfect: He already pokes fun at himself for his height; why not make good use of it? We can already see Kevin prancing around on stage in his munchkin costume. Who cares if he lacks the singing and dancing skills of some of the other stars in this production (okay, the stars that we cast)? His personality is big enough to make up for it.
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The Character: The Scarecrow Originally Played By: Michael Jackson Why He'd Be Perfect: Yes, these are the biggest shoes to fill, but we think that Jason Derulo has the potential. The boy can sing, dance and would probably have killer chemistry with Zendaya. NBC, we will eagerly be awaiting his rendition of "Ease on Down the Road." You can do it, Jason!
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The Character: The Tinman Originally Played By: Nipsey Russell Why He'd Be Perfect: The Tinman used to be a woodchopper = The Tinman must be ripped = Terry Crews. Seriously. The dude has basically made a living off of flexing his muscles on camera (and we love him for it!). We think his overall ridiculousness would play well off of his more subtle co-stars.
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The Character: The Lion Originally Played By: Ted Ross Why He'd Be Perfect: Craig has mastered the timid personality. In his movies and television shows, he is brilliantly reserved, but at the same time a comedic genius. We have a feeling that he would do a fantastic job turning his timidness into the lovable cowardly lion.
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Cedric the Entertainer
The Character: The Wiz Originally Played By: Richard Pryor Why He'd Be Perfect: No one can replace Richard Pryor, just like no one can replace Michael Jackson. With that being said, we think that Cedric the Entertainer could be a good runner-up. Think of his comedy routines. His jokes always seem to revolve around him being a little too big for his britches—something that The Wiz is definitely guilty of.
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James Earl Jones
The Character: Uncle Henry Originally Played By: Stanley Greene Why He'd Be Perfect: Even though Uncle Henry didn't have the biggest role in the film, he's still crucial to the story as a voice of reason and Aunt Em's counterpart. He should be a little older than his wife, but someone who balances out Aunt Em's personality. Enter: James Earl Jones. He would be perfect! He literally has the voice for the role. Plus, he's already a Broadway star.