9:08am PT by Ashley Lee
'The Wiz': Hollywood Praises Diverse Cast, Ends "Hate-Watching" NBC Ritual (For Now)
The network's three-hour version of the beloved 1975 Broadway production put an updated spin on The Wizard of Oz while maintaining an African-American cast, including Ne-Yo, Common, Mary J. Blige, Amber Riley, Uzo Aduba, Elijah Kelley, David Alan Grier and Stephanie Mills (who originally played Dorothy onstage), with newcomer Shanice Williams as Dorothy.
The Kenny Leon-directed telecast — which averaged 3.3 rating among adults 18-49 and 11.1 million viewers, up from last year's Peter Pan outing — was praised by Hollywood for its effort to prioritize diversity in representation, especially for such an anticipated event.
THANK YOU NBC! Thx for the courage to put this on the air. I feel like I'm 7 again watching this, only from a better neighborhood #TheWiz— Tyler Perry (@tylerperry) December 4, 2015
YASSSSSS!!!!! Emerald City Citizen serving up Ballroom REALNESS!! #TheWizLive— Gabourey Sidibe (@GabbySidibe) December 4, 2015
LOVE. https://t.co/sejpw34zSH— Sara Bareilles (@SaraBareilles) December 4, 2015
Everyone in #TheWizLive does everything better than us. This is one mega talented cast.— Jesse Tyler Ferguson (@jessetyler) December 4, 2015
I dunno. #TheWiz doesn't have a very diverse cas.... OHHHHH so THAT'S how people of color feel everyday always.— Jon Sosis (@FunnyJS) December 4, 2015
Additionally, The Wiz seemed to put an end to the "hate-watching" ritual that dominated the conversation around 2013's The Sound of Music and 2014's Peter Pan, as a handful of Hollywood tweeters admitted defeat in attempting to be cynical and poked fun at the previous two productions.
That kicked ass. I don't even know how to be snarky about this. #TheWizLive— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) December 4, 2015
Okay that was the most inspirational shit I've ever seen on TV and I watch Miss USA #TheWizLive— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) December 4, 2015
We should've had the VonTrapp kids do flips on stilts. #TheWizLive— Laura Benanti (@LauraBenanti) December 4, 2015
The acting and singing in the first 4 minutes of this are already worlds above the other two musicals. Still waiting for the stage makeup.— Michelle Collins (@michcoll) December 4, 2015
"That girl was a tasteless white bread and this girl is an everything bagel." - Mom on Allison Williams vs. Shanice Williams #TheWiz— Michelle Collins (@michcoll) December 4, 2015