Get ready for “The Wiz Live!”

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NEW YORK – A holiday tradition that began two years ago with NBC’s live production of “The Sound of Music” continues tonight with an all star cast coming together for a revival of “The Wiz”.

Michael Jackson and Diana Ross gave the Broadway musical a whole new audience when “The Wiz” hit movie screens in 1978.

Giving “The Wizard of Oz” an urbanized twist broadened the appeal of a classic story.

“To see that same story with characters that look a little bit more like me, just made it that much more poignant for me,” recalls Ne-Yo.

Now he’s taking a spin as the Tin Man in tonight’s all new version.

Other big names, including Mary J. Blige and Queen Latifah also wanted in.

Queen Latifah has the title role, while Mary J. Blige plays the Wicked Witch of the West and David Alan Grier the Cowardly Lion.

But it’s an unknown in the role of Dorothy, 19-year-old New Jersey native Shanice Williams.

An open casting call transported the novice to a world nearly as jaw-dropping as the one her character visits.

“It’s weird to just be in a room with people that you see every day and they put on their costumes and they become their character,” she says.

“The Wiz Live” airs at 7 p.m. CT Thursday on KFOR.


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