The Wiz originally made its debut in 1978 and featured African American entertainment icons Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russel and Richard Pryor. It was something different. The songs were new and fresh. The Wiz changed the way that people looked at The Wizard of Oz by delivering its message to a brand new demographic. Now, 37 years later, a brand new cast was attempting to do the same. I will mention that The Wiz is a very popular show on Broadway and off, but the 2015 revamp of The Wiz is so exciting because was presented live on NBC and reached more than 11 million viewers according to Variety.
I watched the newest version of The Wiz on NBC and loved it! Here are six reasons why I thought The Wiz was EVERYTHING!
- The Wiz 2015 didn't try to be or even compete with the original. Sure, the 1978 version paved the way and set the bar for the 2015 version. This much is true, but it was not a competition. I feel comfortable liking both versions for different reasons. There were enough subtle differences (which did not compromise the integrity of the story) to see each production as a separate entity.
- The casting for the 2015 version was wonderful! I really like that newcomer Shanice Williams was selected for the role of Dorothy. There was no way anyone could or should even try to fill Diana's shoes! Additionally, the rest of the cast really seem to complement each other well. David Alan Grier, Ne-Yo, Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige were also a part of the cast.
- The costumes were perfect. The new costumes were a nod to the old ones but with a modern touch. One of my favorite costumes was the one worn by Mary as the Wicked Witch. #fierce
- It was live! A live show is always more exciting to watch. You never know when something unplanned will happen. These are the moments that can make or break a show. Watching and trying to determine when these moments take place is fun. It's also fun to see people laugh when they are not supposed to or flub their lines.
- The Wiz has now reached an entirely new generation, a new population. Prior to this special on NBC, I am not sure how many young people would have seen or even heard of The Wiz. 1978 was a long time ago, but this television special delivered a classic production to the public again.
- The sound track from The Wiz has been revitalized! The 1978 version of The Wiz introduced such classic songs as "Home," "You Can't Win" and my personal favorite "Brand New Day." It's great to see new people discovering this music and making it their own. There are already YouTube creators singing their renditions of these songs.
The Wiz live on NBC was great! It really brought new life to The Wiz, a classic rendition of The Wizard of Oz.