Oscar winner Common, singer-songwriter-actor Ne-Yo and Hairspray co-star Elijah Kelley have joined NBC’s holiday production of The Wiz Live!, set for Thursday, Dec. 3.
Elijah Kelley will play the Scarecrow, the first of the three friends to meet Dorothy and who has always dreamed of having brains, but never realizing that he’s the smartest of them all.
Ne-Yo will play the Tin Man, who was once a flesh-and-blood woodsman but a spell put on him by the Wicked Witch causes him to lose his limbs and heart. He learns that he’s never lost the ability to feel.
Common will play the Bouncer, the gatekeeper of the entrance to Emerald City who is out to get what he can from Dorothy and her three friends.
As an actor, Common is also known for his role as recently freed slave Elam Ferguson on the AMC series Hell on Wheels. Other roles include work on the films American Gangster, Terminator Salvation, New Year’s Eve and voice-over support in Happy Feet 2.
Ne-Yo has appeared on the TV series “CSI: NY” and “90210” as well as the films Stomp the Yard and Red Tails.
The Wiz Live! reunites Kelley with Queen Latifah, as both co-starred in the 2007 film Hairspray, where he played her son, Seaweed J. Stubbs. Kelley’s other film roles include Red Tails and The Butler. His TV work includes The Shield, Everybody Hates Chris, Numb3rs and Dirty Sexy Money.
Also cast in The Wiz Live:
Queen Latifah stars as the Wiz, Mary J. Blige will play Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West, David Alan Grier will play the Cowardly Lion, Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black) will play Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, Glee star and DWTS winner, Amber Riley will play Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North, and newcomer, Shanice Williams is the new Dorothy.
Stephanie Mills will portray Auntie Em in The Wiz Live! Mills is best known to many for playing Dorothy in the original Broadway production of The Wiz.
Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (The Sound of Music Live!, Peter Pan Live!, Oscar-winning Chicago) will executive produce. Kenny Leon (Tony winner, A Raisin in the Sun) and Matthew Diamond are directors, with Harvey Fierstein (three-time Tony winner, Torch Song Trilogy, Hairspray and La Cage aux Folles) providing new written material.
Choreographer Fatima Robinson (Dreamgirls, Ali) is also on board, along with music producer Harvey Mason Jr. (Dreamgirls, Pitch Perfect 2) and Stephen Oremus (The Book of Mormon, Kinky Boots) as music director, orchestrator and co-producer of the music.