10:22am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Orange's' Uzo Aduba, 'Glee's' Amber Riley Join NBC's 'The Wiz'
NBC's live production of The Wiz continues to add to its impressive cast.
Orange Is the New Black's Uzo Aduba and Glee alum Amber Riley have joined the production, NBC announced Thursday.
Queen Latifah will portray the Wiz in the live production, with Mary J. Blige playing Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West. David Alan Grier has landed the role of the Cowardly Lion. Stephanie Mills, who starred as Dorothy in the original Broadway production of The Wiz, is taking on the role of Aunt Em for the NBC rendition. And newcomer Shanice Williams has landed the role of Dorothy, following a nationwide casting call.
Aduba — best known for her Emmy-winning role of "Crazy Eyes" on the Netflix dramedy, will portray Glinda, the Good Witch of the South 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.
Riley, meanwhile, 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 (Blige) 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. The Wiz will be executive produced by Sound of Music and Peter Pan duo Zadan and Meron. 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.
Aduba is with APA; Riley is with CAA.