News and Press Releases

Choreographer Fatima Robinson Joins THE WIZ

BWW has confirmed today that Fatima Robinson (“The Voice,” “Dreamgirls” film, “VH1 Hip Hop Honors”) will serve as choreographer for the highly anticipated THE WIZ LIVE on NBC.

Robinson’s work as a choreographer and video director for the Black Eyed Peas has earned her several MTV VMA nominations, including a win for Best Hip Hop Video for “My Humps” and Best Choreography in a Music Video for “Hey Mama.” She is also the director and choreographer behind the popular commercial campaigns for Nair and Old Navy, as well as Fergie’s “Fergalicious” which won “Best International Video” at the 2007 Much Music Awards.

Fatima has received multiple nominations for American Choreography Awards, Choreography Media Honors and a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for Outstanding Choreographer- Off-Broadway, for her theatrical debut, Radiant Baby, a musical based on the life of artist Keith Haring, produced and directed by George C. Wolfe at the New York Public Theater.

On television her choreography has been featured on such popular shows as Dancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and American Idol. Fatima has also been the creative director behind such notable events as Fashion Rocks, Movies Rock, The American Music Awards, VH1 Divas, and the Grammy’s. Her unique vision expands beyond just the steps of the choreography and into the outstanding overall look of these events.

Named one of Entertainment Weekly’s “100 Most Creative People in Entertainment,” she recently directed and choreographed Cee-Lo Green’s new Las Vegas show “Loberace,” and choreographed commercials for Nike and Heineken with director Rupert Sanders. Fatima also notably choreographed the 2011 SUPER BOWL Halftime show with the Black Eyed Peas, 2012 Coachella Tupac Hologram, HBO Inauguration event for President Barack Obama, and the Sony Pictures movie Sparkle, starring Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston. Fatima also choreographed the 2007 and 2009 Oscars, making her the second African American woman in history to do so.

On film, Robinson choreographed the critically acclaimed Dreamgirls, as well as Charlie Wilson’s War, American Gangster, Public Enemy, Ali, Confessions of a Shopaholic.

As previously reported, Stephanie Mills, the original ‘Dorothy’ in the Broadway production, will star as Aunt Em in NBC’s THE WIZ LIVE. No further casting has been announced.

“The Wiz” is adapted from “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum, with a book by William F. Brown, and music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls. The production opened on Broadway in 1975 at the Majestic Theatre and won seven Tonys, including best musical.

“The Wiz” tells the classic story hundreds of millions of people have read in the L. Frank Baum books and then saw in the much-beloved 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz,” but retold in an African-American/multicultural context. Dorothy, a young woman from Kansas, is swept up in a tornado and relocated to a fantasy world that is inhabited by munchkins, good and bad witches, and, of course, flying monkeys. She eventually takes a path down a yellow brick road to find a wizard who can help her go home and along the way meets a scarecrow, tin man and cowardly lion, who all learn to help one another.

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron produced NBC’s two previous live holiday musicals, “The Sound of Music Live!” and “Peter Pan Live!” Most recently the pair produced the 87th Academy Awards telecast, their third consecutive Oscars. In addition to Emmy Award nominations for “The Sound of Music Live!” and the Oscars, Zadan and Meron have been nominated for TV works that include “Gypsy,” “Cinderella,” “Annie,” “The Beach Boys: An American Family” and “A Raisin in the Sun.” Zadan and Meron were also Tony nominated in 2011 for their Broadway revival of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” On the big screen, they are the producers of two very successful movie musicals: the Oscar-winning “Chicago” and “Hairspray.”

“The Wiz” will be directed by Tony winner and DGA nominee Kenny Leon. In 2014, Leon won a Tony for helming the play “A Raisin in the Sun” and was nominated in 2010 for the Broadway production of “Fences.” His 2009 DGA nomination was for the television adaptation of “A Raisin in the Sun.” Other small-screen credits include TV movies “Steel Magnolias” “In My Dreams,” and “The Watsons Go to Birmingham,” as well as television shows such as “Ghost Whisperer” and “Private Practice.”

Harvey Fierstein, who will contribute new material to the original book of “The Wiz,” is a Broadway legend, both as a prolific writer and star. As a writer, he won Tonys for “La Cage Aux Folles” and “Torch Song Trilogy,” and he has also written the books for other musical hits such as “Kinky Boots” and “Newsies.” As an actor, he is a member of an elite group who have won Tonys as Best Actor in a Musical (for originating the iconic role of Edna in “Hairspray”) and Best Actor in a Play (for his own “Torch Song Trilogy”).

Photo and bio courtesy of Fatima Robinson Official site