'The Wiz Live!': 7 Impressive Moments From NBC's Hyper-Colorful Musical
By Zach Seemayer
Dorothy, the Tin-Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion took a stroll through the land of Oz on Thursday night during NBC's surprisingly successful live production of The Wiz, and some of the stunning elements were absolutely mind-blowing.
Here's a look at the seven most impressive things The Wiz managed to pull off during its hyper-colorful romp through the fantastic world of Oz.
The show kicked things off early with what could have been the cheesiest part of the whole production, but with a mix of wire work, creative visual effects and unsettling camera angles, the difficult tornado sequence ended up looking amazing.
2. The Amazing Set Designs
From Dorothy's (Shanice Williams) first super colorful introduction to Oz all the way to The Wiz's (Queen Latifah) Emerald Kingdom and the wicked witch Evillene's (Mary J. Blige) pseudo-steampunk castle, almost every set was as visually immersive as you've ever seen on stage. While it made it feel more like a theater production than NBC's previous efforts with The Sound of Music and Peter Pan, the trade-off was worth it.
3. The Intricate Costuming
Scarecrow (Elijah Kelley), Tin-Man (Ne-Yo) and the Cowardly Lion's (David Alan Grier) costumes were so perfectly crafted, the actors completely disappeared into their latex and clothed confines (which also made them kind of creepy). But the Wiz, Evillene and Glinda the Good's (Uzo Aduba) outfits were just as staggering.
One of the reasons some people watch these live productions is the possibility of something going hilariously wrong. With the Peter Pan, there was a ton of flying on wires and a shockingly well-trained dog, both of which worked out flawlessly, but could have easily backfired. In The Wiz, they got rid of this problem altogether by leaving the little puppy back in Kansas.
5. Everything Went Swimmingly
With both of NBC's previous productions, there were a few snags here and there, or a few musical numbers that didn't quite work right. But with The Wiz, everything went perfectly! The music, the multitude of special effects (including some surprising pyrotechnics) and all the musical numbers were flawless. It's truly an impressive feat and it sets the bar high for the live production NBC does next.
Every element of music and dance was incredible -- and it probably helps that they hired musical theater pros and incredible singers to handle all the heavy lifting. There wasn't any lasy shuffle-dancing or sing-talking this year. (We don't want to name any names, but we're talking about Christopher Walken.)
7. Uzo Aduba Stealing the Show
It's always a good strategy to save the best for last, and that was certainly the case with this production. Aduba's mind-blowingly epic performance as Glinda (accented by her glimmering gown) was the best way the show could have possibly ended.