NEW YORK — Come June 12, [url id="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/ashanti/artist.jhtml"]Ashanti[/url] will be easing on down the road as Dorothy during a three-week stint in "The Wiz" at the New York City Center. And until she begins rehearsals next week, the Grammy-winning singer is just spending time at home, working on the role made famous by Diana Ross.
"We don't start rehearsals until next Monday, so I'm at home rehearsing in my room," she told MTV News at a press conference for "The Wiz," where she sang the song "Home" from the show. "But it feels great to be out here and to sing 'Home' for the very first time in front of a crowd. It makes it realistic, and it kind of hits home, ironically."
Although she still has a few weeks until she makes her debut as Dorothy, Ashanti is excited that night after night, she'll get the chance to sing "Home."
"I think so many people relate to that song on so many different levels. Obviously, for me, being gone and traveling so much, you miss home, and you get a sense of 'I miss it,' so when I'm there, I take advantage," she said. "Then again, so many people are able to relate to it."
The cast includes Orlando Jones ("Mad TV") as the Wiz and LaChanze (Broadway's "The Color Purple") as Glinda. Ashanti can't wait to start working with them.
"Just jelling with the rest of the cast when we do our read and the script is hilarious. I didn't think it was going to be that funny, but it's really, really great," she said. "So just to hear the real voices and put the faces to the characters is going to be great."
Ashanti is no stranger to the Land of Oz. She previously made trips there as Dorothy in the Muppets version of "The Wizard of Oz" and as the Wicked Witch of the West for a charity production of "Wicked." "I don't know [why I keep visiting Oz]," she said. "They look at me like I'm Dorothy. That's going to be my new nickname!"