Glee vet and Dancing with the Stars winner, Amber Riley and Uzo Aduba, star of the Netflix series, Orange is the New Black have joined the all-star cast of NBC’s hotly anticipated holiday production of “The Wiz Live!,” set for Thursday, Dec 3.
Riley will play Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North who isn’t the best at magic but she does try. She is a sister of Glinda, Evillene and Evvamene, the other three witches of Oz. She points Dorothy to the Yellow Brick Road and her journey to Emerald City.
Aduba, who once again is nominated for an Emmy this year, is best known for her role as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. She will play Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, who finally reveals the secret of the silver slippers to Dorothy and points her way home.
“We are so happy to welcome two actors we’ve admired and wanted so much to work with,” said executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. “We look forward to showcasing the amazing musical talents of Amber and we are eager to introduce Uzo’s remarkable singing voice for those who know her solely as an extraordinary dramatic actress.”
Amber, played Mercedes Jones on Glee for six seasons and won the 17th season of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars in 2013, as she was partnered with five-time champion Derek Hough.
Before starring on television, Aduba made her Broadway debut in Coram Boy in 2007 followed by the hit musical revival of Godspell in 2011. Last year she won the Emmy for guest actress in a comedy series as well as two SAG Awards — outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series and outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe in 2014.
A-list stars already cast include Queen Latifah as the Wiz, Mary J. Blige as Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West, as well as comic David Alan Grier as the Cowardly Lion. Newcomer Shanice Williams landed the lead role of Dorothy after a nationwide search.
Stephanie Mills was previously announced to portray Auntie Em in The Wiz Live! The actress is best known to many for playing Dorothy in the original Broadway production of The Wiz.
ETA: Amber Riley and Uzo Aduba is genius casting, to an already great lineup. Amber’s vocal skills are widely know, but Uzo is a trained classical singer. She’s going to be wonderful.
Here she is on The View showing off her Opera skills
And singing “Lily’s Eyes” from The Secret Garden, with Rachel Bay