Tonight, The Wiz Live! will be broadcast on NBC at 8 PM ET, and I think the network has a winner on its hands.
The Wiz Live is the 3rd live Broadway musical staged by NBC. The Sound of Music in 2013 and Peter Pan in 2014 had some viewers–fair or not–complaining about aspects of the casting. But who could possibly have problems with a cast that includes Queen Latifah (The Wiz), Mary J. Blige (Evillene), David Alan Grier (Cowardly Lion), NE-YO (Tin Man), Elijah Kelley (Scarecrow), Amber Riley (Addaperle), Stephanie Mills (Auntie Em), Uzo Aduba (Glinda) and Common (The Gatekeeper). Newcomer, Shanice Williams as Dorothy appears to be perfect for the role.
The Wiz, 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, opened on Broadway in 1975 at the Majestic Theatre and won seven Tonys, including best musical. The original Dorothy, Stephanie Mills, plays Auntie Em in the NBC production. Diana Ross and Michael Jackson starred in the late 70’s film adaption. Unlike Peter Pan, the 40 year old musical production has aged well. It’s got a wonderful score, too. Look for our recap and video post later.
In the meantime, check out a photo gallery and video previews here. It looks so good!
Shanice Williams and Stephanie Mills duet on Home
The Cast Sings “Ease on Down the Road”
The Wiz Live Extended Promo
The Wiz Live First Look – Behind the Scenes