Sunday, October 17, 2021

Uzo Aduba, Amber Riley Join NBC’s ‘The Wiz Live’

Actress Uzo Aduba speaks onstage during the "Orange Is the New Black" panel discussion at the Netflix portion of the 2015 Summer TCA Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 28, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.
Actress Uzo Aduba speaks onstage during the “Orange Is the New Black” panel discussion at the Netflix portion of the 2015 Summer TCA Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 28, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.

*NBC’s live production of “The Wiz” continues to pad its high-powered cast.

“Orange Is the New Black’s” Uzo Aduba joins the party as Glinda the Good Witch of the South, while “Glee” alum Amber Riley has been added as Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North, NBC announced Thursday.

The pair join Queen Latifah as the Wiz, Mary J. Blige as Wicked Witch of the West Evillene, David Alan Grier as the Cowardly Lion, and Broadway’s original Dorothy Stephanie Mills as Aunt Em for the NBC version. And newcomer Shanice Williams has landed the role of Dorothy following a nationwide casting call.

Aduba’s Glinda is the character who finally reveals the secret of the silver slippers to Dorothy and points her way home. The casting brings the actress back to her Broadway roots after she made her debut in Coram Boy in 2007 and followed that up in 2011 with Godspell.

Actress Amber Riley on stage at The Paley Center For Media's 32nd Annual PALEYFEST LA - "Glee" at Dolby Theatre on March 13, 2015 in Hollywood, California.
Actress Amber Riley on stage at The Paley Center For Media’s 32nd Annual PALEYFEST LA – “Glee” at Dolby Theatre on March 13, 2015 in Hollywood, California.

Riley’s Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North, 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.

“We are so happy to welcome two actors we’ve admired and wanted so much to work with,” said executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. “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.”

The Wiz, which is set to air on Thursday, Dec. 3, is NBC’s latest live musical production, following the Sound of Music and Peter Pan. Tony-winning director Kenny Leon will serve as stage director with Matthew Diamond as TV director. Harvey Fierstein will contribute new written material to the original book by William F. Brown.

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