The Wiz Live

As a theatre practitioner, I have been skeptical of the NBC Live Musicals the past couple of years.  I generally pretend that that Sound of Music didn't happen and I think Peter Pan would have worked much better without Christopher Walken,  Watching the Wiz Live last night became a hopeful production for the future of a tradition that NBC is trying to start.  I wanted to do a high 5 about the production (though I didn't know where this post was going until late last night) and I appreciate your patience to let me create a post that was worthy of today's publication.  So, without ado, here are the 5 reasons that The Wiz Live was a great example of televised live theatre.


For the first two years, poor casting became an apparent downfall of the production.  This year, though the cast had some great name talent, all of these individuals have a history of performance in both music and acting.  This cast was well balanced and had a fantastic chemistry!

The publicity of any event is prime to the success of the performance.  The Wiz had an exceptional social media presence and great "behind the scenes" videos and photos from the cast and rehearsal process.  You can continue to check out their Facebook page here. Be sure to check out some of the videos and photos while you're there!

Visually, the Wiz is high on choreography and visual effects. Since many people tuning into the event were aware - even familiar - with the Michael Jackson/Diana Ross movie version, the choreographer of this event had some stiff competition.  Here's a glimpse of Fatima Robinson (choreographer's) work:

Timing is everything when trying to introduce a "new" art form to the masses. No one wants their first experience with interpretive dance to be 5 hours long, and both Sound of Music and Peter Pan were a bit on the lengthy side.  Once you add in commercial became a bit overwhelming for many viewers.  The Wiz combined a continually upbeat story, well timed commercial breaks, and an exceptional run-time for newbie theatre viewers.

It is always a wonderful experience when actors have the opportunity to step outside of the characters they have become associated with through previous jobs.  The best example of this in The Wiz Live was Uzo Aduba (Crazy Eyes from Netflix's Orange is the New Black) as Glinda.

If you didn't get a chance to see The Wiz Live last night, I'm sure you can start searching the internet today for some great clips and videos.  They have released a soundtrack for this production that you can purchase and enjoy over and over (it's on my Christmas wish list already).  See you next week!

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1 comment:

  1. Can't wait for it to show up in the rental circuit. The Wiz looks like a great revival from the Michael Jackson / Diana Ross version. I'm glad to hear it was received so well and that it was actually a great performance.