Uzo Aduba and Amber Riley have been cast as the good witches in NBC’s upcoming “The Wiz Live!,” the network announced Thursday.
Aduba, who once again is nominated for an Emmy this year, is best known for her role as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black.” She will play Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, who finally reveals the secret of the silver slippers to Dorothy and points her way home.
Riley, known for playing Mercedes Jones on “Glee,” will play Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North who isn’t the best at magic but she does try. She is a sister of Glinda, Evillene and Evvamene, the other three witches of Oz. She points Dorothy to the Yellow Brick Road and her journey to Emerald City.
Last year Aduba won the Emmy for guest actress in a comedy series as well as two SAG Awards — outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series and outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe in 2014.
Riley won a SAG Award in 2010 for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series, and was nominated three other times in the same category.
NBC also recently announced that Queen Latifah will play The Wiz, while Mary J. Blige will play Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West. 19-year-old newcomer Shanice Williams 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.
Last December, NBC’s “Peter Pan Live” pulled in 9.1 million viewers in primetime. While undeniably a strong Thursday number, the count was less than half of the previous year’s “Sound of Music Live’s” 18.6 million total viewers, according to overnight numbers.
“The Wiz Live!” is produced by Universal Television in association with Cirque Du Soleil Theatrical.