The Wiz Live, aired on NBC last night, and provided some of the happiest hours of my week.
The original musical, The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical “Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, opened in 1974. In 1978, it was made into a movie, The Wiz, with Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Most people are familiar with the movie and, judging by some social media commentary, expected last night’s production to be exactly like it (or like The Wizard of Oz, which is an even bigger leap). However, using a single stage (rather than a series of sets) and decidedly theater-style acting, last night’s event was more closely related to the original musical.
Trying to create a live theater experience that people are viewing via television is, unfortunately, full of problems. For example, the beauty of watching something at the theater is being able to view the entire stage, and yet The Wiz Live frequently utilized close-up camera shots. The worst of those were during dance sequences. The sequences choreographed groups depend upon the interaction and juxtaposition of the dancers, and focusing on just one dancer’s facial expressions distracts from the performance.
Conversely, theater actors tend to feed off of their audience while performing. Live theater includes the audience in a way that television simply cannot. That said, I don’t believe the acting suffered for a lack of audience. In fact, there were several truly standout performances. Ne-Yo, as Tin Woodman was my favorite portrayal of the night. It was flawless. The singing, the emotion, the dancing – it blew me away. (Sorry, Ne-Yo. Apparently I’ve been seriously underestimating your talents.) Also particularly noteworthy was Elijah Kelly as Scarecrow. He was exceptional and deserves every ounce of the accolades he’s been receiving today.
The other component that needs mention is the work of the costume and makeup departments. Coincidentally, Tin Woodman and Scarecrow were the most impressively done, but mention must be made of the crows. Their wings! Between their appearance and the choreography of their movements, their anthem, You Can’t Win, was one of the best segments of the evening.
There were some things I didn’t love, like the choreography given to Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige (underwhelming), and a few casting choices, but – overall – it was a good show. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend The Wiz Live to everyone, but if you enjoy musical theater, check it out online.
But it’s Friday. And so, without further ado (rambling), my (mildly Wiz-themed) Five Friday Favorites. As always, I’m checking in with my favorite Friday link-ups – Oh, Hey Friday, High Five for Friday, and Friday Favorites (add’l links below).
Not just part of The Wiz – it’s topical, too!
Favorite Organizational Accomplishment
This is NOT related to The Wiz Live. While deep cleaning the kitchen, I ended up with a number of items that still needed homes, including a substantial stack of recipes, most of which had been printed on 8 1/2 x 11″ paper. Instead of adding these to the pre-existing stack of recipes (more print-outs, some from magazines or newspapers) that were sitting on top of cookbooks, I decided to finally organize the mess. This involved tossing a few recipes that were okay, just not spectacular, but more so it meant transferring the recipes to cards that would fit into my recipe box. It took significantly longer than I’d thought, but made a huge difference in the appearance of the kitchen (particularly that shelf with cookbooks). Also, not only did I feel better about being able to find recipes when I look for them, but it reminded me that I happen to have a really strong collection of meal choices at my fingertips. Below is an example of the pre-organizational situation.
Favorite Fitness Move
None of them. Tall Guy and I started weight training on Monday. He has assured me that I will not bulk up, but the strengthening will help me lose weight while toning up.
Monday was arms. It took until Thursday to be able to straighten my arms.
Tuesday was back, Wednesday was shoulders. He says this will help prevent tight shoulders, and the resulting headaches (which I tend to get), in the future. I assume this is after many months of training? Because last night everything felt knotted up and I had a headache.
Last night was legs. They were jello when we walked out. They’re sore today, but not too bad. I’m imagining that tomorrow I won’t be able to stand. So… yeah. None of it.
Ease on Down the Road from The Wiz. I’ve always loved the song, The Wiz Live just brought it all back.
Friday Favorites via MeetAtTheBarre