Ashanti Studying Diana Ross’ Performance To Prepare For ‘The Wiz’

'I watched the DVD twice already,' she says of getting ready for New York City Center production.

[artist id="1165858"]Ashanti[/artist] knows a thing or two about visiting Oz. Not only has she played Dorothy in the Muppets version of “The Wizard of Oz,” but she also played the Wicked Witch of the West for a charity production of “Wicked.”

So this summer, when she reprises her role as Dorothy in the NY City Center Encores! Summer Stars production of “The Wiz,” a role made famous by Diana Ross in the 1978 movie version, the singer will spend a lot of time in front of her TV to do some research. “I’m excited. I watched the DVD twice already,” she told MTV News. “I’m definitely going to have it on repeat.”

Ashanti is using her nerves to prepare for the part. “I think it’s definitely going to be pressure, but in a good way. Broadway is so prestigious, and just getting that experience and getting to work with more seasoned actors is exciting,” she said. “Broadway, it’s a horse of a different color.”

Although she’s had some experience in the role of Dorothy, the last time around she was acting alongside Muppets. She said she would jump at the chance to get Diana Ross’ advice. “I actually saw her,” Ashanti recalled. “I did a Cartier event last year, and she performed, and I was like, ‘Oh, my God!’ She was so sweet and so down to earth.”

Ashanti said that she doesn’t know who else will be in the production, which will run from June 12 through July 5 at the New York City Center, but she did have a suggestion for the role of Toto. “What’s so funny is that I have my own teacup Yorkie named Mimi,” she said. “And I’m like, ‘Can they just let me use Mimi?’ “