chicago Entertainment

The Wiz Live! Earns an Encore

Tuesday, December 08, 2015 Avante Edmonds

#TheWiz casts a spell on America. Over 11 million viewers makes an encore airing a no brainer.

Dec. 3 marked the three-hour premiere of NBC’s live version of The Wiz. This all-star cast wowed and thrilled the audience with an updated script and enchanting musical numbers. To say this cast is talented would be an understatement.

They had a tough act to follow with the most notable version being the 1978 movie featuring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross, but they surely delivered. Breakout stars from the 2015 live version of The Wiz Live! are Shanice Williams as the inquisitive Dorothy and Elijah Kelly as the brainless scarecrow. R&B crooner Ne-Yo melted hearts as the lovable Tin Man. Resident funnyman David Alan Grier brought the laughs as a not so cowardly King of the Jungle. STUDIO XFINITY in Lincoln Park hosted an event to kick off this premiere. There was an assortment of deep dish pizza, party trays, and Garrett’s popcorn for movie-goers to snack on while they watched the show.
During each commercial break entertainment reporter for NBC 5, LeeAnn Trotter picked names out of a raffle. Winners received gift cards to luxurious sportswear brand Athleta and cans of Garret’s delicious popcorn. All attendees were surprised with gift bags full of XFINITY and The Wiz Live! memorabilia. T-Shirts, coffee mugs, pens and hand sanitizer are just a few of the trinkets viewers went home with.

“The Wiz Live! marks the first time a live entertainment program has been aired on broadcast television accessible to persons with a visual disability”, said Amanda Vallejo director of public relations for Comcast. “Lion moved his arms hypnotically,” was one of the descriptions that visual aid provided. Descriptive Video Works is an industry leader in the delivery of quality video description. Adding colorful details where basic dialogue can leave gaps. The premiere was all the more special because Dec. 3 was International Persons with Disabilities Day. This version of The Wiz is updated for the modern age. Amber Riley’s character Addaperle used an iPad to guess Dorothy’s name upon arriving in Oz. Diva Mary J. Blige calls out Dorothy for ‘throwing shade at her’. Fusing the classic storyline with contemporary themes makes a winning combination. Chicago gets a shout out with homegrown Common playing a hardcore bouncer of a vogulicious Emerald City where Beyonce’s choreographer Danielle Polanco kills it. Did you miss it? Well, you are in luck! The network will air an encore of The Wiz Live! on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. EST.

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