Newcomer Shanice Williams is Dorothy in NBC’s The Wiz Live!

David Alan Grier as the Cowardly Lion, Shanice Williams as Dorothy, Ne-Yo as the Tin Man and Elijah Kelley as the Scarecrow. photo: Paul Gilmore/NBC

David Alan Grier as the Cowardly Lion, Shanice Williams as Dorothy, Ne-Yo as the Tin Man and Elijah Kelley as the Scarecrow. photo: Paul Gilmore/NBC

Rising star Shanice Williams, an 18-year-old New Jersey native raised and trained in musical theater, is the new Dorothy in NBC’s holiday production of “The Wiz Live!The Wiz Live! is an adaptation of the Tony Award-winning 1975 musical, The Wiz, which was made into a 1978 film starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. The Wiz Live! airs Dec. 3, 7 -10 pm CT on NBC, WSMV in Nashville.

Williams was selected out of hundreds of applicants nationwide who auditioned for the iconic role of the Kansas farm girl who gets swept up in a tornado and sent to the mysterious land of Oz. Mary J. Blige will play 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.

Amber 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. Riley played Mercedes Jones on “Glee” for six seasons and won the 17th season of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

Oscar winner Common, singer-songwriter-actor Ne-Yo and “Hairspray” co-star Elijah Kelley also star. 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.

David Alan Grier will play the Cowardly Lion, who asks Dorothy if he can join her in her journey down the Yellow Brick Road and ask the Wiz for some courage, which he is severely lacking. 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.

Queen Latifah stars as the Wiz, 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.

Two-time Emmy winner Uzo Aduba 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. Stephanie Mills, known for playing Dorothy in the original Broadway production of “The Wiz” will portray Auntie Em and duets with Williams on the song “Home.

The original “The Wiz” comes to Bounce TV

“Watch the original 1978 movie “The Wiz” on Bounce TV this holiday season. It airs beginning Saturday, Dec. 5 from 3-6 PM; then Saturday, Dec. 12 from 3-6 AM; Monday, Dec. 14 from 2-5 PM; Sunday Dec. 20 from 7-10 PM; Friday, Dec. 25 from 9PM-12AM; and Saturday, Dec 26 from 2:30 – 5:30 AM (CST). Bounce TV is free on digital channel 42.3 in Nashville, and is also on Comcast channel 235.