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Stephanie Mills to play Auntie Em in NBC's 'The Wiz Live!'

An evening of classic R&B at the NYCB

An evening of classic R&B at the NYCB Theatre in Westbury features The Whispers and Stephanie Mills, pictured, on May 11, 2013. (Undated) Handout

Stephanie Mills, who originated the role of Dorothy in the 1970s "Wizard of Oz" Broadway musical "The Wiz," will play Dorothy's Aunt Em in NBC's upcoming television production "The Wiz Live!"

At the network's upfront presentation to advertisers on Monday, NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt said Mills, 58, is the first person to be cast in the previously announced project, set to air Dec. 3.

Mills -- who won a 1980 Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female, for "Never Knew Love Like This Before" -- had played Dorothy in both the 1975-1979 musical by composer Charlie Smalls and writer William F. Brown, and in the short-lived revival that ran from May to June 1984. Diana Ross took over the role in the critically and commercially unsuccessful 1978 movie adaptation.

NBC said Harvey Fierstein will contribute new material to Brown's original Broadway book and Kenny Leon will direct the Universal Television and Cirque Du Soleil Theatrical production. A planned Broadway show based on it will follow in the 2016-17 season, the network added.

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