BOTCHED! The Wiz
Editor in chief: Najaam Lee
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Ratings: 2.5 Stars out of 5 .
Last night, I sat to watch the over promoted event of The Wiz on NBC. My little one especially wanted to watch for she is an avid actress and loves Broadway musicals.
The Wiz, which had a wealth of big names playing major roles like Common, Queen Latifah, Mary J Blige, Ne-Yo , Stephanie Mills, David Allen Grier, and Shanice Williams who played Dorothy.
The production, a co-production between Universal Television and Cirque du Soleil Theatrical – who provided special acrobatic performers for the “Tornado”, “Emerald City”, and “Funky Monkeys” sequences – was a follow-up to NBC’s live musical events, The Sound of Music Live! and Peter Pan Live!. Like the previous specials, The Wiz Live! was televised from Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York.
The special was directed by Kenny Leon and adapted for television by Harvey Fierstein from the original musical’s book by William F. Brown. Fatima Robinson was the program’s choreographer, with Harvey Mason, Jr.and Stephen Oremus serving as the musical directors.
The first thing I noticed was ToTo was missing. Did you catch that? I couldn’t believe they ousted Toto the dog out of this version. Sorry, but it made the whole event empty.
Most of the cast are all great singers first, actors second. In the first scene, Stephanie Mills did a great job of singing and her acting was really on point. Shanice who played Dorothy was lagging. The fire and spunk of Dorothy was seriously missing. Her singing was good, but the performance on a whole had pockets. And whoever styled her in that ridiculous outfit must GO! It didn’t fit her right, never looked right. Nothing. OMG it was an awful ensemble. I was disappointed 30 minutes into the Live show that I was dreading to watch the rest.
On an individual level, NeYo brought somethings to the table as well as David Allen Grier who played the Cowardly Lion. He brought the comedy and spunk needed to fill many pockets through the show. Common was common.
I must hand it to Queen Latifah who excelled at being the OZ. She did an excellent performance to tie in the whole event. I must say, Mary J Blige really did her part on being Evillene. She really pulled her weight in this part quite well.
Oh! Can We All VOGUE? Hands down that club scene with the dancers voguing was a cherry highlight. The way the dancers moved in and out of sequence with dialogue was a great scene to include. Plus the fashions and set designs were beautifully done.
Overall though, I must say it wasn’t the greatest piece of musical to watch. If you are going to redo a super classic which included the supernovas Michael Jackson and Diana Ross, you gotta bring it much harder. And on top of that to NOT include Toto who is a major part of the story line to both The Wizard of OZ and The Wiz, is absolutely mind-blowing.
Would I watch this again? NO!
Shanice Williams as Dorothy Gale
Elijah Kelley as the Scarecrow
Ne-Yo as the Tin Man
David Alan Grier as the Cowardly Lion
Queen Latifah as the Wiz
Mary J. Blige as Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West
Uzo Aduba as Glinda, the Good Witch of the South
Amber Riley as Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North
Stephanie Mills as Aunt Em
Common as the Bouncer, the gatekeeper of the entrance to Emerald City
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