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Newcomer Shanice Williams cast as Dorothy in NBC's holiday production of 'The Wiz Live!'

by jmaloni

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Wed, Aug 5th 2015 05:00 pm

18-year-old New Jersey native will wear the silver slippers and join previously announced all-star cast

Rising star Shanice Williams, an 18-year-old New Jersey native who has been raised and trained in musical theater, is the new Dorothy in NBC's upcoming holiday production of "The Wiz Live!," set for Thursday, Dec. 3.

Williams was selected out of hundreds of applicants nationwide who had auditioned to portray the iconic role of a Kansas farm girl who gets swept up in a tornado and is sent to the mysterious Land of Oz.

With five years of musical training that also includes extensive dance and piano, Williams has co-starred in several local productions, including "West Side Story," "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," "42nd Street," "Seussical" and "Pippin."

Last year, Williams was nominated for best leading actress in a musical at the Paper Mill Playhouse's annual Rising Star Awards.

"The Wiz Live!" is adapted from "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum, with a book by William F. Brown, and music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls. The production opened on Broadway in 1975 at the Majestic Theatre and won seven Tonys, including Best Musical.

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron ("The Sound of Music Live!," "Peter Pan Live!," Oscar-winning "Chicago") will executive produce. Kenny Leon (Tony winner, "A Raisin in the Sun") is stage director and Matthew Diamond is TV director, with Harvey Fierstein (three-time Tony winner, "Torch Song Trilogy," "Hairspray" and "La Cage aux Folles") providing new written material. 

Esteemed choreographer Fatima Robinson ("Dreamgirls," "Ali") is also on board, along with music producer Harvey Mason Jr. ("Dreamgirls, "Pitch Perfect 2") and Stephen Oremus ("The Book of Mormon," "Kinky Boots") as music director, orchestrator and co-producer of the music.

Visit the official show site at http://www.nbc.com/the-wiz-live.

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