My dream casting for NBC’s ‘The Wiz: Live TV Musical’

The Wiz (photo: Universal Pictures)

What’s new MMT Family?  So, NBC threw me for a loop with its March 30 announcement that THE WIZ would be its next live TV musical to air – with a date given of Dec. 3. “The Wiz” is an all-time favorite and, I’ll be honest, I found it very hard to come up with a list that seemed fitting and definitely struggled a bit when it came to certain characters – for instance Dorothy.

I saw several writers and bloggers posts about possible casting and came to one major conclusion about myself – I am truly old school! Now, I understand that batons need to be passed and all but there was not one mention, that I found, of the person I believe should be among the first to be cast – the première Dorothy herself, Ms. Stephanie Mills! Of course not in the role of Dorothy – no offense Ms. Mills – but I certainly think it would be cool to see her in the opposite role of Evilene and it’d be really nostalgic if she in fact was Glinda the Good. But, I’ll settle for Aunt Em NBC, so just make it happen! Now Ms. Mills is my ultimate wish, but here’s a wish list I also put together for several other key characters:

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  • Usher – I saw a couple of writers mention him as Scarecrow and he is my first choice as well.  As a matter of fact, Michael Jackson’s Scarecrow was the first character I thought of and Usher immediately came to mind. He’s appeared in several films, and is a triple threat with the vocal chops and dancing to boot.  It’s a no-brainer NBC!
  • Jamie Foxx – would be perfect as The Wiz!  He has the comedic timing, can portray the vulnerability also needed with the role, and can sing to boot!
  • Phylicia Rashad – if not Ms. Mills, then it would be really great to see Ms. Rashad as Glinda the Good! Another nostalgic choice, Ms. Rashad was one of the original 1975 musical’s cast members – she played various roles including understudy for Glinda – and she has a magnificent voice. The uber talented Audra McDonald would also knock this role out of the park, but I really need my nostalgic fix, okay?
  • David Mann – I know many of you wouldn’t have come up with this choice, but I believe David Mann would be excellent as the Lion!!! He is a stone cold comedic fool, and can sing the phone book! Pay attention NBC, he is the truth! But if not Mr. Mann…can James Monroe Iglehart work around his Aladdin duties as Genie to film this?!?! He’d be a perfect Lion as well!
  • Keke Palmer – this beautiful young woman seems to be the favorite choice for many and, although I knew she was a great actress, I didn’t realize she could sing – yes, clearly I’d forgotten that she was Broadway’s first African-American “Cinderella!” That is until the release of the song from her latest film, Brotherly Love, and this impromptu posting to her Facebook page last week – in which she gives a pretty good rendition of The Wiz’s signature song, “Home.”

Well MMT Fam, that’s as far as I could stretch my imagination with this one. I really had a hard time coming up with a choice for Tin Man! I used Jamie Foxx for The Wiz, but he was the only person who came to mind for me with Tin Man too. Who do you think would be a good choice? What about your choices for the others?

Ooh, one more thing, I am not certain if NBC is doing a combination of the movie and musical book, or sticking with one vs. the other. But just in case, Ms. Mills could be either Miss One (movie character) or Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North (musical character) too! Yes, I’m arguing my ultimate wish to the bitter end!

Alright fam, let me know your thoughts on this one! Can’t wait to hear them. Until next thought, Thomasena


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