REVIEW: The Wiz Live!

The Wiz Live!, a live remake of the Broadway version of The Wiz, aired on just hours ago on NBC, and EVERYONE is talking about it!

The cast was jam-packed with great talent including Elijah Kelley (Scarecrow), Ne-Yo (Tin Man), David Alan Grier (Cowardly Lion), Queen Latifah (The Wiz), Mary J. Blige (Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West), Uzo Aduba (Glinda, the Good Witch of the South), Amber Riley (Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North), Stephanie Mills (Aunt Em), Common (The Bouncer) and introducing Shanice Williams (Dorothy). Of course, we all know the story. It follows Dorothy who, after getting swept in a tornado, attempts to find the Wiz with new friends to make it back home. She, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion learn a lot about themselves during the journey. Of course, The Wiz has a lot more flavor than the original, and this live version stays true to that.

Of course, we know there were great expectations with this musical, seeing as The Wiz is considered a classic, especially in the black community. However, I watched it as if I was watching it for the very first time, because trying to compare would have sucked the fun out of it. With a star-studded cast, special effects, great choreography and music, vibrant costumes, and the fabulous Cirque du Soleil, The Wiz Live! truly shined. It was an incredible musical to watch at home, perfect for the family, and it left me so moved and inspired!

What I loved about this version of the musical is that it sticks to the original plot and feel of The Wiz, but still manages to include modern technology, slang, music, and even dances (I know y'all saw Ne-Yo with the Dab!). It was seamless combining the feel of both the original and new eras. The songs and choreography were awesome (shout out to choreographer Fatima Robinson). The sets and costumes were bright and beautiful, and the visual effects were great. And what can I say about the Cirque du Soleil performers and background singers?! They were such a great addition to this production.

The cast themselves had great chemistry!  Everyone shined in their moments on stage. Shanice, in her debut, held her own with these well-known talents, giving solid, clear vocals and showcasing her training in musical theater. I think she has a little bit more growing to do in the acting field, but she definitely made her mark tonight. Mary J. did pretty well, though, at times, I didn't believe her in her role as Evillene. It seemed a tad bit forced. Overall though, I enjoyed the cast

The music. I must talk about this music. Now, I've loved me some Amber since back when Glee first aired, and Elijah since his role as Seaweed in Hairspray, so I know their talent as singers.  Of course, Queen, Ne-Yo, and Mary can sing, and Stephanie Mills, who was Dorothy in the original play, is legend. They all did well. However, David's passion in his voice took me for a great surprise! He really stood out in this role, especially when he sang. But it was Uzo's version "Believe in Yourself, and Shanice's "Home," that BROUGHT DOWN THE HOUSE! I knew that Uzo was trained at Julliard and heard she could sing, but had just never heard her before. Her voice and appearance was stunning, and a complete 180 from her role as Crazy Eyes in Orange is the New Black. Shanice, as a newcomer, had something to prove, and she did so by closing the show with that classic song. Her vocals are pretty distinct, and, with her enunciation and tone, you can tell she was trained in the theater. She did a great job. Unfortunately, the soundtrack isn't available until December 11th (at least on iTunes), but you can preorder now. 

The Wiz Live! boosted my spirits and gave me inspiration and motivation. I know that's probably odd to say about a musical, but there were so many great words of wisdom in the script as well that stuck with me. Plus, as a black woman, to see this entire production of black people giving their all on a stage was so beautiful to me. It really was watching black excellence. I was really proud.

I read on the New York Times website, that this play is a test run for a Broadway revival! From what I've read on social media, people loved it, so we're able to go see it in New York! I would definitely make that trip.

RATING: ★★★★ ½ (Four and a half stars)

What did you think of The Wiz Live?

Images via NBC

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...