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The Wiz Live! Goes Off Without a Hitch


Virginia Sherwood/NBCThe three-hour live event The Wiz Live! aired Thursday night on NBC, and cynics looking for one of the cast members to flub a line or for a prop to malfunction were severely disappointed.

The production contained most of the familiar songs that earned the original Broadway production seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, but some things have definitely changed in the land of Oz since the play opened in 1974.

The denizens of Oz now use iPads and Bluetooth headsets. The crows whip and nae-nae, while the residents of Emerald City vogue. The Spice Girls are even referenced by Queen Latifah as the Wiz, who demands that the Scarecrow — played by Elijah Kelley — tells her “what you want, what you really, really want.” Oh yes — The Wiz is a woman.

Stephanie Mills, who played Dorothy on Broadway, was back, but as Auntie Em this time, and the updated production contained a new song, written by Kelley and Ne-Yo — who played the Tin Man — called “We Got It.”

The Wiz Live! also featured David Alan Grier, Uzo Aduba, Amber Riley, Mary J. Blige, and Shanice Williams, the latter making her TV debut as Dorothy.

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