Yesha Callahan

Yaaaas! Amber Riley & Uzo Aduba Join the Cast of NBC’s ‘The Wiz’

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 3.45.33 PM

Ok, thing just keep getting better and better. Yesterday, NBC announced 18-year-old newcomer Shanice Williams will play Dorothy in the network’s live production of The Wiz and today they added two more powerhouse names to the list.

Orange is the New Black star Uzo Aduba and Glee alum Amber Riley are going to be easing on down the road when The Wiz Live hits TV screens in December. Riley will play Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North, while Aduba will be Glinda, the Good Witch of the South.

The Wiz Live producers are excited to have Riley and Aduba–both of whom have extensive musical backgrounds–on board.

“We are so happy to welcome two actors we’ve admired and wanted so much to work with,” producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron said in a statement. “We look forward to showcasing the amazing musical talents of Amber and we are eager to introduce Uzo’s remarkable singing voice for those who know her solely as an extraordinary dramatic actress.”

Riley and Aduba will join Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, David Allen Grier, and Stephanie Mills in The Wiz Live. 

The musical will premiere on NBC on December 3.

  1. August 6, 2015 - Reply

    Congratulations to both Sister Uzo Aduba and Sister Amber Riley.

    • August 7, 2015 - Reply

      @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

      Whenever I read your comments, they are always immensely supportive. Thank you for that and I wish we had waaay more like you.

      • August 7, 2015 - Reply

        @Aria Whitaker

        You’re Welcome. I will continue to show the truth, and honesty including compassion. We, as black people, will continue to rise as the late Sister Maya Angelou has said.

        Have a Great and Blessed Day.

      • August 21, 2015 - Reply

        @Aria Whitaker

        I agree. Truth seeker always speaks the truth in a positive way.

  2. August 6, 2015 - Reply

    I am really wanting to see this i like the cast so far

  3. August 6, 2015 - Reply

    I am so ecstatic to see this musical!!! Referring Amber Riley to “Addapearle” lets me know they are sticking to the 1975 musical version and not the movie, which is going to be awesome for people who have not seen the production of “The Wiz” on stage (people will finally be able to see the contrast between the movie and musical…which its quite a bit!) Plus, Uzo Adoba’s singing voice is CRAZY amazing! She’s gotta a gorgeous operatic voice and I can’t wait to see her show it off for the masses!

  4. August 7, 2015 - Reply

    I officially marked my calendar for this. Let’s make this a hit in the rating y’all! I am here for everyone cast in the parts. I have my thoughts with Mary J Blige (love her) but I am being bias because I would have loved for Jill Scott to be Evillene, I can picture her playing wicked so well.

    • August 7, 2015 - Reply

      @binks

      I just wish it was on a Friday, so my kids could stay up and watch the whole thing! But if they cant, they usually do a rerun on a Saturday, I think. And I definitely agree, I would have loved to see Jill Scott in this movie, that would have been perfect! But the cast is strong so far, so I’m sure it’ll be great!

      • August 7, 2015 - Reply

        @LogicalLeopard

        I agree, I was surprised that the 3rd wasn’t a Friday but maybe they picked Thursday because a lot of Fall shows usually go on their winter break so hopefully this production gets the rating and doesn’t conflict with popular shows that airs Thursday. But knowing NBC they would do a rerun on Saturday or Sunday. I agree I would love to see Jill Scott in this but the cast in strong like you said so I see a win win here.

        • August 7, 2015 - Reply

          @binks

          I think the last live shows were like that, aired on a Thursday. I wanted to see both Peter Pan and the Sound of Music, but they both fell on Thursdays and kind of got lost in the shuffle. My kids got to watch a rerun on a Saturday, though. I don’t know. I’m sure they probably would lose a lot of adult viewers on Friday, but maybe a Sunday time would be ideal for the next go-around? Like if they start it at 7:00PM, the thing would be over by nine or ten, and many kids could stay up and watch it. But yeah, I’m ready for it. And December isn’t very far away at all.

    • August 7, 2015 - Reply

      @binks

      I feel the same way.

  5. August 7, 2015 - Reply

    It just gets better and better. Solid casting, all around. My only problem was with Queen Latifah as the Wiz. I don’t mind race bending or gender bending different roles and characters at all, but….I dunno….that one just doesn’t seem right. However, I’m more than willing and looking forward to being proved wrong.
    Question: Who is going to play the Scarecrow? It’s a very profound role, the Crow scene should be shown in every predominately black school in America. But will they get a professional entertainer like Michael to play the role? Maybe someone like Usher?

    • August 7, 2015 - Reply

      @LogicalLeopard

      When I heard they cast Queen too I was a little skeptical as well (although I adore her as an actress) but if in fact they are sticking to the 1975 musical and not the movie Queen as”The Wiz” has the vocals and charisma to pull it off as The Wizard has two songs (“So you wanted to meet the Wizard” and “Yall got it!”) it sings in the musical. Also I’m itching to see who plays the scare crow as well! I wonder if they will be sticking to the original scare crow song (“Born the day before Yesterday”) or MJs Uber popular version made for the movie “You can’t Win”…Usher or a newcomer would be a fantastic choice I think!

      • August 7, 2015 - Reply

        @2NatuRho

        Ah, thanks for clarifying that! I didn’t know the Wizard had two songs. I really hope they do “You Can’t Win,” because it speaks to the present as much as it did then. There are so many people who are being told that they cannot succeed. Looking at the fact that you have a lot of very smart people who are incarcerated after pursuing a life of crime, I wonder how many of them were told as children that they were stupid and couldn’t succeed. Whoever they pick for the role, I hope he’s a triple threat like Michael. The dancing helps because of the physicality of the Scarecrow role.

        • August 7, 2015 - Reply

          @LogicalLeopard

          I believe one of the main reasons the original scare crow song was not put in the movie was because it’s very lackluster and mediocre in comparison to the rest of the songs in the musical. Pretty much all of the songs in the movie were from the original musical with the exception of a few. I do think that You Can’t Win is a great motivational song as is pretty much all of the songs in the musical. One of the beautiful things about The Wizard of Oz/The Wiz is The theme is “Believing in Yourself”…that is a message that stands the test of time.

          • August 7, 2015 - Reply

            @2NatuRho

            Exactly! And I’m so glad that a lot of people who have never seen the musical or the movie will get the chance to see it!

  6. August 7, 2015 - Reply

    Casting Queen Latifah as the Wiz is interesting.

  7. August 7, 2015 - Reply

    I like David Allen Grier as the cowardly lion. I would have liked Chris Brown as the scarecrow and Usher as the tin man.

  8. August 21, 2015 - Reply

    Wow….amazing talent for the revival of “The Wiz”…..

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