NBC’s entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt has just revealed that the network’s next live musical broadcast will be either 1957’s THE MUSIC MAN or an updated version of 1978’s THE WIZ. The network has reportedly optioned the rights to both musicals and is currently considering casting options for THE MUSIC MAN.
BroadwayWorld.com has exclusively learned that one of the two shows will be their 2015 musical, and the other will air in 2016. Both will be produced again by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron along with Bob Greenblatt and NBC. NBC made television and ratings history in 2013 with a live broadcast of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical THE SOUND OF MUSIC and followed up with last year’s PETER PAN LIVE airing in November.
THE WIZ is a musical with music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls and book by William F. Brown. It is a retelling of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in the context of African-American culture. It opened on October 21, 1974 at the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland and moved to the Majestic Theatre with a new cast on January 5, 1975.
The 1975 Broadway production won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The musical was an early example of Broadway’s mainstream acceptance of works with an all-black cast. The musical has had revivals in New York, London, San Diego and theNetherlands, and a limited-run revival was presented by Encores! at New York City Center in June 2009. A film adaptation was released in 1978.
The musical toured the US in 1976 and the show was revived on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre from May 24, 1984, through June 3, 1984, closing after 13 performances and 7 previews. Directed by Geoffrey Holder, the cast featured Stephanie Mills as Dorothy. It then ran in London at the Lyric Hammersmith from December 11, 1984, through February 2, 1985.