The Wiz


A glorious time is upon us, ladies and gentlemen, for this is the night we lay down our phones (LOL), gather with our loved ones, settle onto our sofas, and tune in for a sure-to-be-delightful production of the classic musical, The Wiz. And we're not just saying that because it airs on NBC, (E! and NBC are both part of the NBC Universal family), we genuinely think this looks like a solid night of entertainment. 

While one may be tempted to cynically grumble, scoff, and yell at a gigantic live musical production that has oh-so much potential to go oh-so wrong on national television, just like you may or may not have done with any similar productions over the last few years *cough Christopher Walken as Captain Hook cough*, it kind of seems like that might not be necessary for tonight's festivities. 

In fact, it kind of seems like all the stars are aligning for one truly magical show that might have us jumping to our feet and forgetting to tweet by the time it's over. Of course, we can't know for sure—after all, it's a live performance—but just take a look at all the evidence we've compiled that indicates just how much potential this show truly has:

The Wiz


1. The Cast

Have you seen the cast list, though? If the combined star power and musical experience of Amber Riley, Mary J. Blige, Uzo Aduba, CommonQueen Latifah, David Alan GrierElijah KelleyStephanie Mills, and Ne-Yo doesn't immediately make you think, damn, this is going to be good (or at the very least, damn this is going to be interesting), then you are doing it wrong. 

2. The Unknown Lead: Shanice Williams

While we love Carrie Underwood and Allison Williams just as much as the next basic consumer of popular culture, but this time, the true star of the show was cast entirely for her talent instead of her celebrity status. She's a completely unknown 19 year-old, meaning a) we won't be as quick to judge her if her performance is any less than perfect, and b) we may be witnessing the birth of a star as she takes the stage tonight. Most people might not know Shanice Williams today, but that's not likely to be the case tomorrow. 

Plus, Stephanie Mills, who played the original Dorothy, approves of her, telling E! News: "I told her that this is her Dorothy. I don't want her to try to live up to what I did. It's hers. I passed the torch onto her." 

3. Uzo Aduba

Yep. The Orange is the New Black star deserves her own number on this list, because we love her so darn much. She has stolen our hearts three seasons in a row on Orange is the New Black, and we honestly can't think of a more perfect Glinda the Good Witch. 

Mary J. Blige, The Wiz Live


4. The talent behind the scenes

Executive producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan (RIP Smash) tapped Tony-winning director Kenny Leon to lead the production and four-time Tony winner Harvey Fierstein (of Mrs. Doubtfire, Kinky Boots and Hairspray fame) to adapt the original Wiz book for TV.

5. The Choice of Show 

Like The Sound of Music and unlike Peter Pan, The Wiz features songs that everyone knows even if they don't know the musical itself. Unlike The Sound of Music, The Wiz features no kind Austrian families running away from nazis. This is just going to be a good time all around.

6. The Costumes 

These ain't no dresses made of drapes. Mary J. Blige's Wicked Witch getup looks like the greatest unconventional materials challenge Project Runway has ever had, and that is honestly the best compliment we can give. The detail is just insane, and everyone looks so good they almost don't look real. 

7. Cirque du Soleil is providing acrobatics

Prepare to clap and for your mom to text you in order to tell you she saw them do all these stunts and crazy work with their bodies.

8. The hair and makeup

Just look at Queen Latifah dressed as the Wiz. LOOK AT HER. AND HER CONTOURING. 

The Wiz


If we were Queen Latifah that would be our profile picture until the end of time. 

The Wiz airs tonight at 8 p.m. on NBC. 

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBC Universal family.)

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