The Wiz!!

Toronto, ON, Canada / SayRadio

If you love music or you love acting, you can get the best of both worlds when it comes Music Theater. On November 25, 2015, NBC presented a live musical production of “The Wiz” which was a remake of the 1978 version that involved Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. In this 2015 production there was a huge star cast that included:

  • Shanice Williams as Dorothy
  • Stephanie Mills as Aunt Em
  • Elijah Kelly as Scarecrow
  • Ne-Yo as Tin Man
  • David Allen Grier as The Cowardly Lion
  • Amber Riley as Addapearle (the good witch of the north)
  • Uzo Aduba as Glinda (the good witch of the south)
  • Common as The Royal Gatekeeper
  • Mary J. Blige as Evilene
  • Queen Latifah as The Wiz

This production received over 11.1 Million views and also had 128 Million more twitter news than “Peter Pan Live” and “The Sound of Music Live” in total.

In my opinion I was really excited about it and also very hesitant about this production. I was excited because “The Wiz” is one of my favorite musicals that I could sit down and watch on repeat, as well as get the soundtrack and listen to. I was nervous about it because it is live. If you mess up, it will all go downhill. When I watched it, I absolutely loved it and everything was on point.

“The Wiz” has the exact same story line as the original, “The Wizard of Oz”. A girl named Dorothy who live with her aunt, wants to run away from home because she feels like she doesn’t belong. As she’s running away, she turns back and gets caught in a tornado which sends her to a new world. She learns that her house laded on the wicked witch of the east killing her, which frees the munchkins. Dorothy wants to go home, so she is told by the Good witch of the North, Addapearle to follow the yellow brick road to see the Wiz.

On her journey to Oz she makes some friends: Scarecrow who want a brain, Tin Man who wants a heart and Lion who wants courage. They find The Wiz who tells them that they need to kill the wicked witch of the west to get what they want. When they succeed in doing just that, they head back to Oz to get their reward only to find out The Wiz was a fraud. In the end they find out that they had wanted was within them the whole time. Finally by clicking her heals three times Dorothy gets back home, but turns out that the whole thing was a “dream”.

There are a few differences between the two musicals. In “The Wiz” the cast is an all-black cast. Then instead of ruby red slippers, Dorothy has silver slippers. The music is completely different more disco and soulful than the other version which is what makes me like “The Wiz” more than “The Wizard of Oz”.

Side note: When I was in High School, my grade 12 musical theater class put on their own production of “The Wiz” and I played The Royal Gatekeeper. The picture below, is our theater door so when you enter this would be what you see!

Works Cited:

  1. http://money.cnn.com/2015/12/04/media/the-wiz-live-tv-ratings/
  2. http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/first-look-at-mary-j-blige-as-the-wicked-witch-of-the-west-in-the-wiz-live-20151120
  3. The last picture is my own

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