If Anyone Speaks Ill Of The Wiz Live, They’re Wrong. Here’s Why

We knew it would be one of two things: absolutely awful or spectacular. Thankfully, it was the latter.

-by Michael Arceneaux

When NBC announced that it would be doing a live version of the Broadway musical (not the 1978 film it inspired) of The Wiz, panic hit the hearts of many enriched with melanin. The Wiz – both versions – has a very special place in the heart of Black folks. Given the not-so-amazing productions of Peter Pan Live and The Sound of Music Live, we knew The Wiz Live would be one of two things: absolutely awful or spectacular. Thankfully, it was the latter.

I didn’t realize how much I needed nearly three hours to see Black people be funny, creative, talented, and full of joy without interference. I loved The Wiz Live so very much. Let me count the ways.

Stephanie Mills looked and sounded amazing.

I’m so glad the original Dorothy was included in this production. It was clearly for the better because there were certain parts where Shanice Williams, the 19-year-old who won the chance to play Dorothy this go ‘round, sang as if she’s had Mills hovered over her during rehearsal to make sure she got it right. That said, I wish Mills would’ve broken into her hit “Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin’” at some point during the show.

The costumes and stage design were both gorgeous.

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