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Behind the Curtain: Queen Latifah, Blige join the cast of NBC's 'The Wiz'

Queen Latifah has signed on for NBC's

Queen Latifah has signed on for NBC's "The Wiz." Photo Credit: Getty Images/JOE KLAMAR

Latifah and Blige sign on for 'The Wiz'

Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige have signed up for NBC's live television broadcast of the 1970s musical "The Wiz," playing The Wiz and the Wicked Witch, respectively. Rumors are also spreading that Beyoncé may play Glinda the Good Witch, as per Us Weekly.

In other "Wiz" news, the musical's 40th anniversary will be celebrated with free concerts on Aug. 12 and Aug. 13 in Central Park and Marcus Garvey Park, respectively, as part of the SummerStage series. Put together by George Faison, who choreographed the original Broadway production (and became the first African American to win a Tony for choreography), the concerts will feature original cast members Phylicia Rashad, Andre De Shields and Dee Dee Bridgewater.

Jean-Baptiste becomes youngest and first African-American Jean Valjean

21-year-old Kyle Jean-Baptiste, who plays multiple roles in the Broadway revival of "Les Miz," unexpectedly went on as Jean Valjean last week. As pointed out by, this makes him not only the youngest actor to ever play the role on Broadway, but also the first African American. He will go on again as Valjean at a handful of performances in August.

Shannon joins Lange and Byrne in 'Long Day's Journey'

Oscar-nominated actor Michael Shannon has joined the cast of the upcoming Broadway revival of Eugene O'Neill's bleak family drama "Long Day's Journey Into Night," which also includes Jessica Lange, Gabriel Byrne and John Gallagher Jr. Shannon will portray James Tyrone, Jr., the role that Philip Seymour Hoffman played in the 2003 revival.

Broderick completes 'Sylvia' cast

Matthew Broderick, who appeared just recently in the hit comedy "It's Only a Play," is the last addition to the cast of the Broadway revival of "Sylvia," A.R. Gurney's 1995 comedy about a couple that finds a dog in Central Park. He joins Annaleigh Ashford (who just won a Tony for her supporting turn in "You Can't Take It With You"), Julie White and Robert Sella.

Alex Sharp leaving 'Curious Incident'

Recent Juilliard grad Alex Sharp, whose intense performance in "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" won raves and awards, will depart the production on Sept. 13. Tyler Lea, making his Broadway debut, will take over as the socially awkward teen and math genius Christopher.

Spotted ...

Vice President Joe Biden at "Hamilton" ... Reba McEntire, Wendy Malick and James Patterson at "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" ... Paul Williams at "Beautiful" ... Danny Aiello at "Colin Quinn: The New York Story."


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