NBC adapting Wizard of Oz reboot The Wiz as next live TV musical special

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Mar 31, 2015, 3:25 PM EDT (Updated)

The final products have been a bit hit-and-miss in recent years, but NBC is putting together what could be its most ambitious live TV musical yet — and they want to take us all the way to Oz this time around.

The network has lined up The Wiz, an adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, with Cirque du Soleil attached. Following the live airing on Thursday, Dec. 3, a Broadway production is planned. Those two variables should definitely give this one some much-needed buzz. NBC is keeping its previous musical creative team intact, with Sound of Music and Peter Pan producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron back, along with Tony-winning director Kenny Leon. 

“We love this yearly tradition and we’re more excited than ever to not only bring another Broadway musical to America’s living rooms, but also see it land on Broadway as well,” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said. “It’s a natural next step for our live musical events, and we’re so pleased to be in business with this award-winning creative team and Scott Zeiger, president and managing director of Cirque du Soleil’s new theatrical division. Cirque’s incredible imagination will help bring the fantasy world of Oz vividly to life and give this great show a modern spin on the age-old story we all love."

The Wiz was a retelling of the Wizard of Oz that ran on Broadway for four years in the mid-1970s at the Majestic Theatre and won seven Tonys, including best musical. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, The Wiz adapted the classic fantasy tale through the lens of an “African-American/multicultural context,” and it resonated with audiences then and could certainly hit the mark again in the modern era.

Coming on the heels of The Sound of Music and Peter Pan, this is arguably NBC’s biggest swing yet in the live music area. Sure, it’s an adaptation of a classic (albeit a lesser-known adaptation of a classic), but it also has the inklings of a more modern story with weighty undertones that could take this one a step further. Plus, it’s The Wiz! So, awesome.

Do you plan on checking this one out this winter?

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)