Cast and crew of NBC’s The Wiz Live gathered in Hollywood courting Emmy. The evening was hosted by Holly Robinson Pete and included two special live performances.
Executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron joined cast members including Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, David Alan Grier, NE-YO, Shanice Williams, Elijah Kelley, and Amber Riley. Director Kenny Leon, choreographer Fatima Robinson and music producer Harvey Mason, Jr also joined in
The panel was introduced by NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt. Zadan credited Greenblatt with ushering in the current resurgence of live musicals on Television. “The idea of doing a live TV musical on network television for three hours was unheard of. It hadn’t been done since the ‘50s. When we went to Bob with this, he just said let’s do it,” referring to 2013’s The Sound of Music.
Director Kenny Leon discussed the difficulty of pulling off a live musical on TV. “I’ve done 11 Broadway musicals and David (Alan Grier) has done five. Combined, it’s not as difficult as pulling off one live TV musical,” said Leon.
Each cast member discussed the process of coming on board. Queen Latifah, who was the first cast, credited Zadan and Meron for their visionary casting by slotting her as The Wiz, a character historically portrayed by male actors.
The crowd was treated to two live performances, the first was the original song “We Got it,” performed by Ne-Yo, David Alan Grier, Elijah Kelley, and Shanice Williams. The panel was closed out by of the classic song “Home” performed by Shanice Williams, who received a Critic’s Choice nomination this year for her portrayal of Dorothy. Both of the performances received standing ovations from the capacity crowd.
Check out photos from the evening. Performance and panel excerpts are included below.
The Wiz: We Got It PERFORMANCE
Why The Wiz Live?
Passing the Torch: The Wiz Live!