he Wiz Live! airs on NBC on Thursday with a star-studded lineup certain to have you ready to take a trip down the yellow brick road. The Broadway musical-turned-movie-turned-live TV musical features a newcomer as Dorothy (Shanice Williams), a Wiz vet as Aunt Em (Stephanie Mills, who played Dorothy in the 1975 Broadway musical) as well several of your favorite R&B singers and big-name actors. As we look forward to these marquee names hitting the stage, take a look at a few interesting facts that you may not have known about its debut on the Great White Way and its storied Motown-produced theatrical run in 1978.
1. Berry Gordy and Motown Productions bought the rights to the musical so it could be made into a film.
2. Stephanie Mills, who was also signed to Motown Records, was a favorite to reprise her Broadway role of Dorothy in the 1978 film. But Diana Ross reportedly lobbied Gordy and producers to land the iconic role. The original director, John Badham (Saturday Night Fever), withdrew once Ross was cast.
ENTERTAINMENT: 12 Things You May Not Have Known About The Wiz was originally published on praisecleveland.com