Monday, March 30, 2015

The Wiz on NBC

It has been announced that following NBC's live productions of The Sound of Music and Peter Pan, we will be getting The Wiz this year, which I hoped this trend of live musicals on TV would lead to. They are partnering with Cirque du Soleil, who will follow the TV production with a revival on Broadway. The TV broadcast will occur December 3.

So, here's some questions I haven't been asked, but I have seen these statements pop up online a lot.

  • This is gonna be awful! To be honest, it could be. Also, Avengers: Age of Ultron could be awful. Some casting choices aside, NBC's Sound of Music wasn't that bad. I wasn't big on their Peter Pan, but I've never liked that adaptation of Barrie's story in the first place.
  • Why are they remaking the movie? This little thing has been frustrating because not only have online commenters run with this idea, but so have big websites who report such things. Let's get one thing straight: THEY ARE DOING A LIVE PRODUCTION OF THE PLAY. The movie adaptation of The Wiz literally tossed out the original book and they had Joel Schumacher pen a new EST-infused screenplay. The songs may be the same, but the script is quite different.
  • No one will top Michael Jackson's "You Can't Win." In the original production, the Scarecrow sang "I Was Born On The Day Before Yesterday." "You Can't Win" was written for the play, but was shifted around before finally being dropped. In the movie, they had the Scarecrow sing it instead of his original song. Some productions since have added it to the Scarecrow scene or had it replace the original song. Whether it will be in NBC's production remains to be seen. Personally, "I Was Born..." is a more optimistic song, so I hope they use it. In addition, even if they use that song, please cut the actors some slack and enjoy their interpretation for what it is. Michael Jackson's version will still be around afterwards.
  • Will they cast this right? No cast has been announced yet. Let's hope so.
  • Will the same cast be in the Broadway revival? From early news reports, it sounds as if the TV cast and Broadway cast will be separate, however I wouldn't be surprised to see some crossover. They may have some of the big roles filled with more notable names for the TV version.
  • Are they going to make the cast multi-ethnic? Possibly. Personally, I hope they try to keep the cast African-American as The Wiz was created as an African-American interpretation of the Oz story.
  • Will there be a DVD of the performance? Given that DVDs of The Sound of Music and Peter Pan were released shortly after their broadcasts, we can say an optimistic "Yes." No Blu-Rays were issued, however, HD versions can be bought on streaming video sites. In addition, cast albums were made for the previous musicals, so not only will The Wiz be on TV, but we'll also have a new home video version and a new music album available.
  • What will be different from the movie? The script is likely going to see some revision, and leaves some wiggle room for alteration, so I can't quite say. However, I'm hopeful that songs like "A Rested Body Is A Rested Mind," "So You Wanted To Meet The Wizard," "Y'All Got It," and "Who Do You Think You Are?" will appear in NBC's production, particularly the last one. Stephanie Mills also sang the song "Wonder, Wonder Why" in the 1984 revival and who knows? It could end up in NBC's version.
  • Will you be watching live? Unless something big comes up that night or my antenna suddenly can't get NBC, you bet!
  • Will you blog about it? Definitely.

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