Shaliah Holleman

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NBC's The Wiz Live!

Posted by Shaliah on December 4, 2015 at 1:40 PM


Ever since it was announced that NBC was doing a live verison of the hit legendary and iconic musical "The Wiz", there has been a lot of controversy. People have wondered would it be better than the first with Stepahinie Mills or would it live up to the movie "The Wiz starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. In my opinion, NBC's 'The Wiz Live" was fantastic! Before we compare and contrast, let's take a look at the original.


"The Wiz" was first introduced when it was a broadway production beginning January 5, 1975 at The Majestic Theatre. It starred Stephanie Mills as Dorothy, Hinton Battle as Scarecrow, Tiger Haynes as Tin Man, and Ted Ross as Lion. It proved to be an instant success and a blockbuster hit! To this day, Stephanie Mill's performance is still praised by many critics today.


In 1977, Motown Productions acquired film rights to The Wiz. It starred Diana Ross as Dorothy, Michael Jackson as Scarecrow, Ted Ross as Cowardly Lion, and Nipsey Russell as Tinman. The movie also featured special guests such as Lena Horne, Richard Pryor, and Mabel King. Stephanie Mills was originally cast as Doorthy, but Diana Ross wanted the role badly. There was controversy surrounding Diana Ross being cast as Dorothy because she was much older than Dorothy origanally was (She was 33 years old at the time). Nevertheless, her performance was excellent The film grossed over $21 million dollars, but was considered a box office fail due to it's $24 million dollar budget. At the time, it was the most expensive film musical made. The Wiz would go on to become a cult classic.  

NBC's "The Wiz Live! " garnered over than 11 million viewers which was more than NBC's "Peter Pan Live!" (which had 9.21 million viewers).  Nielsen also reported that the special produced the most social network interactions of any live television event in the past four years; there were three times as many Twitter postings related to "The Wiz Live!" Everyone's performance was amazing. Shanice Williams did an excellent job as Dorothy, and David Alan Grier did a phenomenal job as the Cowardly Lion. Although their performances were both, exceptional, my favorite performers had to be Neyo as Tinman and Elijah Kelley as the Scarecrow. It also featured many other celebrities such as Queen Laitfah as The Wiz, Mary J. Blige as Evilene the Wicked With of the West, Amber Riley as the Good Witch of the South, and Stephanie Mills as Aunt Em. I recommend this film to everybody. It is such a fun and entertaining film to watch with the whole family, especially for the holidays. The soundtrack for The Wiz Live is in stores today. If you missed this live event, check it out on December 19th on NBC for another special replay!

Categories: Film, Music, Dance

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