Williams, who competed against hundreds of applicants from across the country, was unveiled Wednesday morning on TODAY as the show’s plucky heroine who finds herself in a land of yellow brick roads and flying monkeys.
According to Playbill, the 18-year-old New Jersey native has 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. In 2014 Williams was nominated for best leading actress in a musical at the Paper Mill Playhouse’s annual Rising Star Awards.
She will play the same role made famous by Stephanie Mills
in the 1975 Broadway show and by Diana Ross in the 1978 movie — both
based on the children’s classic, “The Wizard of Oz.”
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
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.
“The Wiz Live!” is produced by Universal Television in association with Cirque Du Soleil Theatrical.