Latifah is set to star as the Wiz, aka the mysterious and powerful wizard who holds the keys to the Emerald City, but whose metamorphosis from ordinary to extraordinary is itself a hoax. She rose to her lofty position after being transported by accident to Oz in a hot air balloon during a snowstorm.
Meanwhile, Blige will take on the role of Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West, who holds sway over the Winkies and the Winged Monkeys that do her bidding. She captures Dorothy and her friends to avenge the unintentional murder of her evil sister, Evvamean, and to get back the powerful silver slippers given to Dorothy by the Good Witch of the North.
Both Latifah and Blige have had a ton of experience performing live in the past. Blige is a nine-time Grammy winner while Latifah starred in 2002's Chicago and 2007's Hairspray.
From Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, aka the team that brought you Smash, The Sound of Music and Peter Pan, NBC's latest live musical event is partnering with Cirque du Soleil and will become a Broadway revival in the 2016-2017 season.
The Wiz is an adaptation of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls and a book from Brown. The show opened in 1975 and won seven Tonys. The musical tells the story of The Wizard of Oz, but with an "African-American/multicultural twist," NBC said in a release. Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and Lena Horne starred in the 1978 flick.
NBC's The Wiz Live! is set to air Thursday, December 3.