NBC has settled on the source material for its next live musical staging, and it may come as a bit of a surprise. THR reports that the network has set The Wiz as its next live television event, but this adaptation will differ from NBC’s Peter Pan and The Sound of Music in one significant way: it has Cirque du Solei onboard.
The Wiz Live will be a co-production between NBC and Cirque du Solei under the latter’s new theatrical banner and will air on December 3rd, followed by a fully fledged Broadway revival of the Wizard of Oz update during the 2016-17 season. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will once again return as executive producers with Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon staging both the television production and the Broadway revival. If that wasn’t enough, Harvey Fierstein is contributing new material to the original Broadway book by William F. Brown.
The Wiz is a retelling of The Wizard of Oz in an African-American context and first debuted on Broadway in 1975. It was subsequently followed by a 1978 feature film starring Dianna Ross and Michael Jackson, directed by Sidney Lumet.
While NBC has initially said The Music Man would be its next live TV musical, it appears that the network opted to pull an audible in order to launch The Wiz’s Broadway revival. It’s unclear if The Music Man remains in development as a possible production down the road, but NBC is also working on a live TV staging of A Few Good Men with original writer Aaron Sorkin tweaking his own play for television.
Watch the trailer for Lumet’s The Wiz below, and ready those fingers for some live-Tweetin’ come December.