When NBC announced it would be presenting The Wiz Live! as a follow-up to its previous two live musical productions (Peter Pan Live! and The Sound of Music Live!), the Internet cracked its collective knuckles in anticipation of another round of delightful hate-watching. But when The Wiz Live! took over the airwaves tonight, everyone's jaws dropped instead.
So basically #TheWizLive has rendered hate tweeting impossible.— Paul Wontorek (@PaulWontorek) December 4, 2015
think #TheWiz is first NBC live musical people are watching & enjoying, not watching to shade/make fun of like Peter Pan + Sound of Music— Mark Sundstrom (@106th) December 4, 2015
Basically, instead of snark and criticism, audiences were saying things that no one said about NBC's past two musicals.
Gonna take this moment to say that the set, costumes, sound, direction, lights and choreography are so delicious. #TheWizLive— Grace Gealey (@gracegealey) December 4, 2015
Everyone pretty much agreed this musical was flat-out better than the last.
The Sound of Music live was a sh*t show. Peter Pan live was marginally better, I heard. #TheWiz? Well, my TL is showing nothing but love!— Leo Sheng (@iLeoSheng) December 4, 2015
Here are the reasons The Wiz Live! worked.
Instead of casting a known celebrity as Dorothy, NBC cast a fresh-faced, previously unknown actress in the role. And sure, The Wiz Live! had some tremendous star power behind it, but audiences couldn't get enough of newbie Shanice Williams. Before being cast, Williams was a 19-year-old community theater actress with big dreams — but that changed tonight, now that America knows how amazingly talented she is.
Wow — talk about stunning! The costumes for the show were incredible, and everyone was definitely taking note!
Who's responsible for the costume design on #TheWizLive?? Bring them to me at once ...for fist bumps and champagne, because yes!— Nicole Blades (@NicoleBlades) December 4, 2015
Sooooo, I kinda like the Crow Crew. They look like they know how to party. Plus, their costumes are on point. Feather me, fellas. #TheWiz— Coffee Lite & Sweet (@CoffeeLiteSweet) December 4, 2015
Did the Crows really do the nae nae? Yes, yes, they did. Choreographer and music video director Fatima Robinson has choreographed music videos for superstars like Michael Jackson and Mary J. Blige. Her expertise definitely came through on The Wiz Live!
#TheWiz Live Choreography checklist: Stanky Leg ✔ NaeNae ✔ Dab ✔ Crip walk variations ✔— Darren (@zeebotter) December 4, 2015
If you need me I'll be trying to learn the choreography from the last number of #TheWizLive— GOT MELANIN? (@Tyler_Grigsby) December 4, 2015
I'm literally screaming "FATIMMMMAAAAA" right now. Like she put her all into this choreography. I can't say it enough. #TheWizLive— Destin(e)y (@TribeCalledDess) December 4, 2015
Even though the original film was a box office failure, The Wiz has remained a cult favorite. Reviving the film now, considering how divided our country is over racial tensions, feels particularly prescient. And its effect isn't being missed by audiences.
It takes a quality mind to know that there's always more to learn. - #TheWiz— Marquisha Jeng (@_melaninhippie_) December 4, 2015
Knowing that I know nothing means I know something? ~ Scarecrow (Listen, politicians) #TheWiz— Jonathan Mandell (@NewYorkTheater) December 4, 2015
Not only are there some great lines in the script, there's a lot of symbolism jumping out at people, too.
This is a loving inclusive intersectional badass queer power black power feminist hip hop gay fantasia, from Jesus. #TheWizLive— Sara Benincasa (@SaraJBenincasa) December 4, 2015
Although television is making strides toward reflecting a more diverse world in casting, much of our entertainment in the U.S. is still predominantly white — so seeing a production like The Wiz Live!, where the cast is decidedly not white, is huge, and audiences took notice.
I don't even like musicals. Just glad to see Black people on TV in non-stereotypical roles #TheWizLive— JOSHUA (@iRockJoshA) December 4, 2015
ALL THESE LIVE. FLAWLESS. BLACK PEOPLE #TheWizLive— Dillon Nettles (@Dylawn4) December 4, 2015
I think we all just needed this on a deeper level. It's been a tough year, feels good to see some black girl magic on stage. #TheWizLive— Latoya Tiffany (@mvrandsh8kr) December 4, 2015
Need we say more? Mary J. Blige positively owned the role of the Evil Witch of the West, proving that she can act just as well as she sings her heart out.
MARY J. BLIGE SOUNDS PHENOMENAL. #TheWiz— BuzzFeed TV (@BuzzFeedTV) December 4, 2015
Glee fans already knew that actress and singer Amber Riley has incredible pipes, but I don't think anyone was prepared for just how mind-numbingly awesome her performance was going to be. It was perfection!
YES AMBER SLAY ME WITH THOS VOCALS #TheWizLive— Karen the Meme (@larrygardenias) December 4, 2015
And this shot with Riley and the amazing Uzo Aduba is one of our favorites!
With all that awesomeness onscreen, social media users were hard-pressed to find reasons to complain... except for one teeny, tiny, adorable missing cast member.
Apparently, the furry beast was omitted from the live stage version in all but the beginning and end scenes of the show — and, so, with his part pared down to mere minutes, Toto played a much smaller role in The Wiz than he did in The Wizard of Oz. Of course, fans of the original movie (and of The Wizard of Oz) didn't seem to know that little tidbit, so Toto's absence was sorely felt.
I like #TheWiz so far. I just wish we had toto.— zen chilla (@ugglyyy) December 4, 2015
toto needs a better agent. #TheWiz— Tara Abell (@tara_abell) December 4, 2015
But not to worry — he didn't seem to mind his backstage hangout time!
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