NBC, the makers of the Sound of Music and Peter Pan live broadcasts are at it again this holiday season, this time doing something less Mary Martin and more Motown. If you haven’t heard yet, NBC will be producing a live TV production of The Wiz, the beloved cult hit re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz. And to add further to that joyous announcement, the team has recently picked their Dorothy, by choosing newcomer Shanice Williams, along with stars David Alan Grier as the Cowardly Lion, Stephanie Mills as Aunt Em, and Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige as The Wiz and Wicked Witch, respectively.
And so in celebration of the news, here are some Theater Thursday approved choices for the rest of The Wiz cast. Now come “ease on down” our article road to see some dream-casting picks!
Billy Porter as The Tin Man
You know who is fabulous? Billy Porter. You know who should always be in more things? Billy Porter. Yeah, if anyone could play the Tin Man to perfection in The Wiz, it would easily be Mr. Porter, who has been enchanting audiences as Lola in Kinky Boots for the last few years. If that isn’t proof enough that this man is a beast on stage, I don’t know what is. It’d also be great to see Billy play up his comedic aspects in a role that is a bit more tight and rigid compared to Lola. But regardless, he’ll bring the heart and the feels, as ironic and yet perfect as that sounds. You go, Billy!
Leslie Odom Jr. as Scarecrow
I know that Leslie is probably too busy rocking the stage in Hamilton, but if he can take a quick break, he’d make all my theatrical dreams come true as Scarecrow. Leslie clearly has the moves, the charm, the innocence, that he would definitely do Michael Jackson proud, and considering that he is an NBC darling (coughSMASHcough) I wouldn’t be surprised if the team is begging Lin Manual to let Leslie have a vacation day. Can’t you just imagine how magical his “You Can’t Win” or “Ease on Down The Road” would be? Cause I sure can. Please, Lin, let Leslie walk down the yellow brick road!
Audra McDonald as Glinda
Spoiler Alert: I, like much of the world, would like to cast Audra in everything, because Audra. But if there ever was a most obvious and beautiful role for homegirl to play, it would be Glinda, in an instant. I can just imagine her belting the hell out of “Believe in Yourself”….and I’m tearing up just thinking about it. Audra, the queen, would slay in this part. And considering how much she impressed the world with her turn in The Sound of Music, I’m sure NBC isn’t ignoring this casting possibility in the slightest.
Janelle Monae as Miss One/Good Witch of the North
Since every other role I wanted Janelle to play in this production has been taken (she would have made the cutest Dorothy, lets face it…), I’d love to see Janelle take on the role of Miss One. She could have her own unique take on the part, which even if it is pretty small, would allow for some fun creative choices. And basically, you all know that she’d perform the heck out of “He’s The Wizard,” since the version from the movie already sounds like a song that would end up on one of Monae’s albums anyway. So come, NBC, this casting choice is clearly written in the stars.
Orlando Jones as Uncle Henry
You know what would be awesome casting? To get just as cool and awesome of a Broadway vet to be next to Stephanie Mills as Aunt Em. And you know who is someone that barely gets enough respect? Orlando Jones. Sure, the guy is known for Sleepy Hollow and other TV/Movie appearances, but did you know he recently played The Wiz himself during the City Center production, next to Ashanti? So it only seems fitting that (though this is way too small a role for Jones, in my opinion) Uncle Henry’s shoes need to be filled by someone who knows the show backwards and forwards. Besides, him and Stephanie would look really cute together, in my opinion.
So those are my choices for NBC’s The Wiz. Who do you want in these roles? Do you like the choice for Dorothy, or were you hoping for someone else? Do you think Audra would slay as Glinda? If you don’t, I’d be curious who else you’d want it in (besides Beyonce….) Comment below with your thoughts and dream casting choices.