Originally played by: Diana Ross
Newcomer Shanice Williams snagged the leading role after attending an open audition (it was her first ever audition!) earlier this summer in New York City. The 18-year-old college student and New Jersey native told ESSENCE.com that her mom pushed her to audition. “My mom was saying, ‘Over the summer, you’re not going to be sitting home on my couch,” she said. “I don’t want a real job, so I’m like, ‘Let me look up auditions.'” The rest is history!
Originally played by: Richard Pryor
The Queen joined the cast last month, and she will be stepping into the magical shoes of The Wiz. This isn’t Queen Latifah’s first stage role—she scored a Best Supporting Actress nod in 2002 for her role in Chicago, and in 2007, she starred in the musical remake of Hairspray.
Originally played by: Lena Horne
Uzo is taking a break from Litchfield and is on her way to the magical land of Oz. The Orange is the New Black actress joins the cast as Glinda the Good Witch. Aduba is a seasoned pro when it comes to musicals; she is a classically trained singer and has starred on Broadway in the past.
Originally played by: Theresa Merritt
In the 1970s, Stephanie Mills played the leading role of Dorothy in The Wiz on Broadway, and 30 years later, she’s returning to the production as Auntie Em. Maybe she can offer Shanice Williams some words of advice.
Originally played by: Michael Jackson
Perhaps the most highly coveted of all the roles goes to Elijah Kelly, a talented actor and singer who has starred in movies like The Butler and Hairspray (check out the 2007 flick, which he acted opposite Queen Latifah, if you want to sneak a peek at his dance moves). You’ll make MJ proud, Elijah!
Originally played by: Ted Ross
We’re ready to see David Alan Grier as the perfectly cuddly Cowardly Lion. The actor-musician is an on-stage veteran: He has starred in numerous Bradoway shoes, including Dreamgirls and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.
Originally played by: Nipsey Russell
The talented R&B singer landed the role of the Tin Man. We can’t wait to see him ease on down the road. We have one question for him: Will his tin hat be a tin fedora?
Fresh off of her run on Fox’s Glee, Amber Riley has signed on to star as Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North and Glinda’s lovable sister. We think she and Aduba make a good team!
The Wiz LIVE! just got a whole lot sexier after adding Common to the cast. As the gatekeeper, Common won’t have any songs to call his own, but we’ll find someway to get over it.