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Dec 03 2015

THE WIZ LIVE!Live Blog with Anne Marie and Margaret

MARGARET: Good evening,Kansans and citizens of Oz!Margaret here with Anne Marie,ready and excited to ease on into NBC'sThe Wiz Live!

ANNE MARIE: Last year Margaret and I re-capped that musicalwhere Christopher Walken kinda sang a little bit,to the joy of few and the dismay of many.HOWEVER,this yearThe Wiz Live!looks like everything we ever wanted and more!The live-blog begins after the jump!

8:00 MARGARET:I adore this musical,and am entirely jazzed on the prospect of this truly excellent cast taking it on.Roll call,TFE readers!Who else was in a high school production ofThe Wiz?

8:02 ANNE MARIE: They added theWizard of Ozprologue!I have to commit I'm only familiar withThe Wizmovie,where Dorothy and family are all native New Yorkers.The Kansas City Royals hat is a nice touch!

8:04 MARGARET: Stephanie Mills as Aunt Em is claiming to be "too old for this"but she is looking GOOD.Original Broadway Dorothy passing the torch-- this is so dang sweet.

8:05 ANNE MARIE: I would just like to point out that Stephanie Mills was onMargaret'sThe WizLive!dream cast back when the project was announced.NBC may have only fulfilled this one of Margaret's manyfantasticchoices,but midway through this song we all know why...

8:07 MARGARET: Shameless flatterer!(Your check is in the mail)

8:08 ANNE MARIE: Whoops!First camera gaff.But check out that projection!And those Cirque dancers!This is straight up stage craft!

8:09 MARGARET: Damn the beautiful blend of Shanice Williams and Stephanie Mills' voices!That's what Anne Mariecalls a "how dare they"note.

8:11 ANNE MARIE: DOROTHY'S IN THE AIR!!Think they employed Fly by Foy again?

8:12 MARGARET: These production designers are fire!!This Beverly-Hills-Psychic's-Office munchkinland set is for real.

8:14 ANNE MARIE: Those silver slippers are some crazy disco-inspired heels.But then again,basically everyone in Oz is rocking fabulous footwear.Well-dressed from head to toe are these munchkins!

8:15 MARGARET: Amber Riley sauntering in and dropping those comic chops on us,then sailing into "He's the Wiz"with that divine flexible alto is serving mostly to make me deeply angry at Ryan Murphy for doing her dirty for basically all ofGlee's run.#JusticeForMercedes

8:19 ANNE MARIE: Ugh.This musical is nothing but How Dare They notes.I love it.BELT THAT HIGH NOTE AMBER!!
8:24 MARGARET: Methinks we just spotted another technical mishap.There was an explosion and then..nada?
8:26 ANNE MARIE: What is Munchkin Land made out of?Hookahs?Russian church steeples?The deconstructed sets of failed Cirque shows?Inquiring minds want to know.

8:26 MARGARET: Shanice Williams,our Dorothy for this evening,is astar.Magnetic,lovely,beautiful voi--- sorry,excuse me---SOON AS IIIIIIIII GET HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOME

8:32 ANNE MARIE: Finally figured out what those dancing cyclones from earlier reminded me of:
8:37 MARGARET: Hey everyone,remember Elijah Kelley,aka the best thing about Hairspray?He did NOT come here to play.Them moves!Them pipes!Am I the only one a bit disappointed that they're doing "You Can't Win"(movie song) instead of the original "Born on the Day Before Yesterday"?(Full disclosure: in my high school production of The WizI played the scarecrow.I am biased.)
8:41 ANNE MARIE: Is the Yellow Brick Road paved with Mary J Blige's Grammy Awards?She certainly has enough to do it!
8:47 MARGARET: *Ne-Yo starts singing 'Slide Some Oil to Me'*
Anne Marie: "Ahhhh.I'm so glad they fixed the singing problem."
Margaret: "you mean the problem where the whole cast couldn't sing like this?"
Anne Marie: *knowing smile*
8:50 ANNE MARIE: Ne-Yo's dancebreak just proved why they couldn't cast Drake in the role.#HotlineBling #TopicalHumor #SorryForTheHashtagJokes
8:53 ANNE MARIE: Had a minor theater geek-gasm with the transition from the Yellow Brick Road to the forest.Those projections!The flying trees!And even the yellow brick road changes color!Bravo,set designers!
8:57 MARGARET: I am a useless fangirl.There is nothing to snark on???The cast is adorable and the dancing is adorable and I can't.(Also just to say,here's hoping David Alan Grier's lion costume weighs a good deal less than the 90-pound monstrosity Bert Lahr had to deal with in The Wizard of Oz.)
9:01 ANNE MARIE: StinkyLulu is,as ever,on point:
9:03 ANNE MARIE: "I'm not panicking now,but give me a few minutes!"The Cowardly Lion is my spirit animal.This is my grad school experience in a single punchline.
9:05 MARGARET: Y'all this forest is TERRIFYING.
9:08 MARGARET: I don't know if I've ever actively wished for a musical to have more ballads before.Shanice Williams,what is this witchcraft?!?!
9:10 ANNE MARIE: This part of The Wizalways weirded me out.It's honestly no weirder here.Are the Poppy dancers are about to break out in a number from Priscilla Queen of the Desert?I'd be more into that.
9:14 MARGARET: Ah,and naturally there's a plug to see Wickedon Broadway during the commercial break.Synergy!
9:18 ANNE MARIE: I could totally rock that jacket.
9:19 MARGARET: SO THE EMERALD CITY IS A DRAG BALL AND EVERYONE IS VOGUING??Nothing in my life has ever made this much sense tbh
9:20 ANNE MARIE: Vogue along with the citizens of OZ IS BURNING!

9:28 MARGARET: Queen Latifah IS Ziggy Stardust!!!!!!!!!!(What is that forehead-nosebridge makeup?)

9:29 ANNE MARIE: Nevermind.I could totally rockthatcoat.

9:31 MARGARET: The Wiz is being salty as heeellllll to hir houseguests.If this was truly a present-day production,The Wiz would totally be a subtweeter.

9:39 ANNE MARIE: By the by,Nathaniel is tweeting along even though he's not commenting here.*sniff sniff*

9:41 MARGARET: this speech from The Wiz about Dorothy's house-dropping lowkey a metaphor on gentrification?

9:43 MARGARET: What's this?Might it be an original song mine ears are hearing??

9:45 ANNE MARIE: Okay I was liking the projection until they decided to change the color of the set 500 times for this number.Admittedly the new song isn't the best,but we can rely on Shanice Williams's RAW STAR POWER AND MAGNIFICENT VOICE to carry us through without the not-so-Emerald City projection and the creepy floating masks.I do not like the creepy floating masks.


9:52 MARGARET: If the music number goes on just long enough,do you think there'll be time to airlift another Grammy in??

9:56 ANNE MARIE: Like the lady says,"WORK WORK WORRRRRRRRK!"

9:57 MARGARET: So she's definitely about to bust into Defying Gravity,right?

9:59 ANNE MARIE: I am here for all of this Cirque du Soleil performance except the costumes.WHY do the flying monkeys have metal moobs?

10:01 MARGARET: Twitter is coming THROUGH right now

10:05 MARGARET: That faint sound you heard right after MJB shouted "This child still thinks I'm playing with her!"was the sound of several thousand reaction gifs being saved.Coming soon to a Buzzfeed listicle near you.


10:15 ANNE MARIE: Awww we skipped past the voguing Oz citizens.I wanted another dance party.

10:18 MARGARET: Pay no attention to that Queen behind the curtain!Love the awkward feminist twist they threw in there.The Wiz backstory telling right now is making me sort of pine for a version ofOz the Great and Powerfulstarring Lady Latifah.That is,if there has to be one of those at all.But still.James Franco <<<<<

10:21 ANNE MARIE: Careful,Margaret!Sony Pictures Entertainment might hear you and put anotherOzprequel into preproduction.

10:22 MARGARET: Are you telling me that if they greenlit a blockbuster where Queen Latifah got to romance Michelle Williams,Rachel Weisz,and Mila Kunis,that you would be all that mad?


10:26 MARGARET: When this angel-voiced teenager starts singing "Home"I'll officially be a goner.I know we're several songs away but I will need all my strength.Pre-sobbing imminent.

10:29 ANNE MARIE: Queen Latifah's fairly conservative beige dress has made this earlier tweet by Nathaniel oddly prescient:

10:30 MARGARET: Damn!!Time for the chorus to get their shine,and they are GO-ING FOR IT.Taking How Dare They notes to a new level.

Uzo Aduba: "Hello,Dorothy!"

10:35 MARGARET: Golden-gauze eleganza on Uzo.Is this what the Disneyland parks are going to put Princess C-3PO in for their Star Wars tie-in attractions?

10:38 ANNE MARIE: Now Shanice Williams brings us "Home"because it wouldn't be an NBC Live!Broadcast if I didn't cryat leastonce.Don't mind me.I'll just quietly sob in the corner.

10:41 MARGARET: I'm mixing things up by crying straight up in the open.So beautiful.I feel like a proud mom getting embarrassingly emotional at the recital.Great work,team!!Top to bottom,a dynamite cast and a lovely production.

10:45 ANNE MARIE: Oh my gosh!We're done?We're done!Thank you everyone for joining us on an absolutely incredible trip down the Yellow Brick Road!I hope you had as much fun as we did!Anne Marie OUT!

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Reader Comments (18)

The Wiz was my first "real"show (community theater,not a school show) back when I was 12,and I've seen lots of productions since.The tornado ballet is NEVER good,and this continued that tradition (what was with that camera work?!?).But mostly this is a HUGE leap forward from Sound of Music and Peter Pan,although the material is also stronger.

And #JusticeForMercedes INDEED!

December 3,2015 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

denny - Agreed!Minus the odd tornado ballet,every single number so far has been head-and-shoulders above the previous efforts.

December 3,2015 | Registered CommenterAnne Marie

Amber has it all over Miss Ross

December 3,2015 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie19

Do I dare to admit that I've never seen The Wiz?I'm loving the show AND your blog comments!

December 3,2015 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

The crows fly better than Peter Pan

December 3,2015 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie19

I'm not shading the film version cause I think that the voices are really good in that one,just the miscasting of Diana Ross.But this is an excellent production.

December 3,2015 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan

Diana is like Grease problem of a 30something playing a teenager BUT her voice during "Home"in the film version is divine.

this has been fun.Mary J Blige is easily best in show.

December 3,2015 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

denny -- you're white.what were you doin' in a WIZ production ;) ?

queen latifah is so much better as herself than when she was doing the wizard drag

December 3,2015 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nathaniel - I respectfully disagree.BRING BACK THE WIZARD DRAG.

December 3,2015 | Registered CommenterAnne Marie

Nathaniel - LOL.It was community theater.I was in the chorus as one of the munchkins,winkies,and mice.And offstage singing voices.Multi-culti Wiz casts are probably more common than all-black versions.Most of our leads were black,though.And our Dorothy went on to the original Broadway cast of Hairspray.

Uzo Aduba just blew the damn roof off the place!

December 3,2015 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

This made me realized how well scripted"The Wizard of Oz"-the girl playing Dorothy seemed old enough to be playing Dorothy's mother.

December 3,2015 | Unregistered Commenterjaragon

This blog-along was delicious.Thanks.

December 3,2015 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Reading this after seeing the show,but it was fun to re-live.Great job!I loved everyone,but especially UZO!

December 4,2015 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

I've never been able to see one of these live so I love reading your play-by-play reactions.Well done!

December 4,2015 | Unregistered Commentercatbaskets

Wait Margaret was also in The Wiz -- all these white folks in high school productions of The Wiz!crazytimes.

December 4,2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Loved this.Such a wonderful production.I have no notes,apart from the Scarecrow's Leatherface mask.

December 4,2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave S.

Dave -- yes.that was so disturbing.why not let us see Elijah's face with straw around it.

December 4,2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I fell asleep,but that was mostly because I was tired and a little drunk.I enjoyed what I saw and plan to watch the whole thing tonight.They really do need to have a live audience because it's a bit weird when someone just finishes a rousing number and it's crickets.I also wish they would just get a presenting sponsor and cut back the commercials.It was so distracting.

December 4,2015 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

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