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.
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?
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.