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Common, Ne-Yo, Elijah Kelley Join NBC’s ‘The Wiz Live!’

TCA 2015: Actors join Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige in live musical

NBC has cast Common, R&B superstar Ne-Yo, and actor Elijah Kelley in its upcoming live broadcast of the musical “The Wiz”

Academy Award winner Common will play a non-singing role of the Bouncer, who uses his role as the gatekeeper of the Emerald City to get whatever he can out of Dorothy and her friends. Ne-Yo has been cast as the Tin Man, Dorothy’s companion on the Yellow Brick Road in search of a heart. Kelley, known for his roles in “Hairspray” and “The Butler,” has joined the special as the Scarecrow, who needs a brain from the Wizard of Oz.

The three join other recently announced cast members including “Orange Is the New Black” star Uzo Aduba and “Glee” alum Amber Riley. Aduba will play Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, while Riley will play Addapearle, the Good Witch of the North.

NBC also recently announced that Queen Latifah will play The Wiz, while Mary J. Blige will play Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West. Shanice Williams, a 19-year-old newcomer, was cast as Dorothy and David Alan Grier will play the Cowardly Lion.

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (“The Sound of Music Live!,” “Peter Pan Live!,” Oscar-winning “Chicago”) will executive produce. Kenny Leon (Tony winner, “A Raisin in the Sun”) is stage director and Matthew Diamond is TV director, with Harvey Fierstein (three-time Tony winner, “Torch Song Trilogy,” “Hairspray” and “La Cage aux Folles”) providing new written material.

“The Wiz Live!” is produced by Universal Television in association with Cirque Du Soleil Theatrical. It will premiere Dec. 3 at 8/7c.

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