Review…'The Wiz Live': Dope cast, catchy contemporary dance moves

AP Photo
AP Photo/File

As 8 o’clock Thursday night rolled around, there was an executive order in my house to cease all use of electronic devices and sit around the TV to witness what I believed to be history. “The Wiz Live”, which drew 11.5 million viewers, was colorfully amazing.
The lineup couldn’t get any better than Queen Latifah, Ne-Yo, Common, Mary J. Blige, Uzo Aduba, Elijah Kelley, and introducing Shanice Williams as Dorothy.
Stephanie Mills, who played Dorothy on Broadway’s original run of The Wiz in the 1970s, piped out strong vocals as Aunt Em. She was a fresh kicker to the live production. I wanted her to bust out in “Never Knew Love Like This Before” too!
“The Wiz Live” was everything I expected. From Mary J. Blige’s stiff dance moves to Queen Latifah’s virile singing, the energy involved was pleasingly insurmountable.
AP Photo/File
AP Photo/File

I thoroughly appreciated the random inserts of contemporary culture. The dances kept my children glued to the screen. The Crows did the Nae-Nae, Ne-Yo was dabbing, and an extra hit the Quan. Many successful attempts were made to include popular dances, languages, and technology.
Between the dope cast and the dynamic choreography, what more could you ask for?

Social media played a big piece in the acceptance and denouncement of “The Wiz Live”. The real time production broke a Twitter record– the most tweeted live special program.  According to Nielsen, “The Wiz Live” almost 270,000 people sent 1.6 million tweets, reaching 6.4 million people.
While it also trended on Facebook too, this social media platform took a strong, negative approach. Facebook, in my opinion, has become an open cesspool of negativity. The backlash and irrelevant debate over Toto was tiresome. It’s a live broadcast. No live production can risk the spontaneity of an actual animal. The pet companion at the beginning and end was enough.

There were small live mistakes– awkward pauses, nervous jitters and projections from smaller cast members, and set difficulties. But, they were microscopic compared to the overall scheme of excellence displayed last Thursday.
If you missed its premiere, “The Wiz” encore broadcast will air December 19 at 8PM on NBC.

Merecedes J. Howze, Movie Scene Queen (Brian Cook/Golden Sky Media)
Merecedes J. Howze, Movie Scene Queen (Brian Cook/Golden Sky Media)


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