‘The Wiz Live!’ NBC Special Features Two Adorable Shelter Dogs
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NBC is unveiling it latest TV musical on Dec. 3 with “The Wiz Live!” The show will run as a three-hour special and will star an African-American cast, similar to the 1975 Broadway debut.
Produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who took charge of NBC’s previous live events like “The Sound of Music” and “Peter Pan,” “The Wiz” will feature 19-year-old Shanice Williams as Dorothy and Queen Latifah as The Wiz. Other stars to watch out for include Mary J. Blige as Evillene, David Alan Grier as the Cowardly Lion, Ne-Yo as the Tin Man, Elijah Kelley as the Scarecrow, Common as the Bouncer, Uzo Aduba as Glinda, Amber Riley as Addaperle, and Stephanie Mills as Auntie Em. Mills originally played Dorothy in the Broadway production, per Detroit Free Press.
The show will also feature rescue dogs Ralphie and Scooter who will play Toto. “In the early summer NBC called and asked if I’d be interested in training two Cairn terriers for the show,” said Bill Berloni, the dogs trainer, via Chicago Tribune. “They called me a week later. They’d found two blond boys in Sacramento whose owners could no longer keep them. … We flew out to St. Louis. They were spry, in good health, giving kisses. So I adopted them.”
Berloni said that the dogs have trained for seven weeks prior to the show’s first rehearsal day and it helped that many of the cast members are dog lovers.