For its upcoming live rendition of “The Wiz,” NBC has recruited a star-studded lineup of veteran show biz stars, including Mary J. Blige and Queen Latifah.
But for the coveted role of Dorothy, producers opened up a nationwide casting call, searching for the perfect, pure talent to pluck out of obscurity and thrust into the national spotlight. A gamble? Perhaps, but the decision has clearly paid off, because the production has finally found its Dorothy — and, make no mistake, this girl’s a star.
Eighteen-year-old Shanice Williams has landed the role of Dorothy, the storied traveler who journeys to Emerald City. A New Jersey native, Williams has five years of musical theater experience, include local productions of 42nd Street, Pippin, and West Side Story.
The burgeoning young talent appeared on the “Today” show on Wednesday morning (Aug. 5), shedding a few tears as she gushed, “This is always what I’ve wanted to do. So I guess I’m ready! I’m ready now.”
“Today” also aired footage from Williams’ stunning audition, during which she belted out “Be A Lion,” as well as a clip of the emotional moment she learned about landing the part. Warning: weep-worthy moments ahead.
Williams will be easing on down the road with a stellar cast alongside her, including Latifah as The Wiz, Blige as Evillene, The Wicked Witch of the West, “In Living Color” vet David Alan Grier as the Cowardly Lion, and Stephanie Mills, who played Dorothy in the original Broadway production, as Auntie Em.
Oh, and then there’s that exciting rumor about Beyonce and “Orange is the New Black” star Uzo Aduba being considered for the part of Glinda the Good Witch. While there’s no update on that role as of yet, we can’t imagine either of them opting out once they hear Williams in all her jaw-dropping vocal glory. If we click our heels together three times, anything is possible.
“The Wiz Live!” airs Dec. 3 on NBC.