NBC's Dec. 3 telecast to be among biggest events of the season
Adding to an already A-list cast, Oscar winner Common, singer-songwriter-actor Ne-Yo and "Hairspray" co-star Elijah Kelley have joined NBC's holiday production of "The Wiz Live!," set for Thursday, Dec. 3.
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 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.
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.
Common and John Legend won Academy Awards earlier this year for Best Original Song for their composition of the single "Glory" from the 2014 film "Selma." He also co-starred in the movie - about the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama - as 1960s civil rights movement leader James Bevel.
As an actor, Common is also known for his role as recently freed slave Elam Ferguson on the AMC series "Hell on Wheels." Other roles include work on the films "American Gangster," "Terminator Salvation," "New Year's Eve" and voice-over support in "Happy Feet 2."
An accomplished musical artist, Common is a two-time Grammy Award winner for the singles "Love of My Life" (with Erykah Badu) and "Southside" (featuring Kayne West), respectively.
Starting at a high bar and maintaining his R&B credentials over the years, Ne-Yo's first two albums, "In My Own Words" and "Because of You," each debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Chart. He has written songs for such acclaimed and varied artists as Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Carrie Underwood, Anastacia and Ciara.
On the acting front, Ne-Yo has appeared on the TV series "CSI: NY" and "90210," as well as the films "Stomp the Yard" and "Red Tails."
"The Wiz Live!" reunites Kelley with Queen Latifah, as both co-starred in the 2007 film "Hairspray," where he played her son, Seaweed J. Stubbs. In addition, Kelley will once again collaborate with "The Wiz Live!" and "Hairspray" producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.
Kelley's other film roles include "Red Tails" and "The Butler." His TV work includes "The Shield," "Everybody Hates Chris," "Numb3rs" and "Dirty Sexy Money."