There was so much anticipation and speculation of who will portray the young Dorothy in The Wiz Live set to air on NBC Dec 3rd. Many have voiced their wishes and hopes for their favorite actors & artists to be cast in the role. Janelle Monae, Amber Riley, & Brandy Norwood have been among the consistent names brought up. However, a new comer has come along to save the day.
Well, it looks like young vocal powerhouse Shanice Williamsan, an 18-year-old newcomer from New Jersey, will take on the role of Dorothy. Her voice sounds PERFECT! She’s got the look, the youth, the adorable & vunerability factor. We couldn’t have asked for a better choice! This is everything we asked for. Thank you to Kenny Leon & the entire creative team. Williams’ casting was announced on “The Today Show” Aug. 5. an 18-year-old newcomer from New Jersey.
Williams was selected from hundreds of young aspirants who auditioned across the U.S. She has five years of musical training that also includes extensive dance and piano. Williams has co-starred in several local productions, including West Side Story; You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown; 42nd Street; Seussical and Pippin. In 2014 Williams was nominated for best leading actress in a musical at the Paper Mill Playhouse’s annual Rising Star Awards.
Williams will join Tony nominee David Alan Grier who will take on the role of “The Cowardly Lion”, as well as join the Academy Award nominee Queen Latifah & Grammy Award winner Mary J. Blige in the cast of The Wiz Live, set to air on NBC Dec. 3rd. Latifah will play “The Wiz”, a role originated on stage by the incomparable Andre De Shields (Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Full Monty). Blige will portray the role of “Evillene”, the horrible wicked witch known for the upbeat “Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News.” In addition to Stephanie Mills as “Aunt Em”, who was also previously announced.
Tony Award winner Kenny Leon will direct & Fatima Robinson will choreograph, as previously announced. The show will also head to Broadway in 2016 with Leon directing. The Wiz for NBC will partner with Cirque du Soleil to bring the live and Broadway productions to life. The original book of the show was written by William F. Brown. This time around, Broadway legend Harvey Fierstein will add new material to the book.
Universal Television will produce. Casting for both the NBC telecast and Cirque du Soleil‘s Broadway production will be announced at a later date.
Also check out Broadway World’s exclusive interview with the new starlet and hear her sing a snippet of “Home” from The Wiz!
Cuba Gooding Jr. Returns to the Role of Billy Flynn in Chicago
Show me the money! Cuba Gooding Jr. (A Trip to Bountiful) returns to Broadway’s ‘Chicago.’
Oscar Winner and Broadway alumni, Cuba Gooding Jr., has returned to Broadway. Cuba has returned to ‘Chicago’ through February 10th. After a previous Broadway and West End run in the show, Cuba is back playing Billy Flynn. Now taking on the role for the third time, Cuba is back and better than Ever.
“This is the first time I’ve sang professionally, period. This is my first musical” Cuba said, “The hardest thing I’ve ever done physically is singing and dancing, eight shows a week, six days a week.”
The Oscar winner returned to the Ambassador Theatre on January 7th to do a month-long run in the show. He’d previously spent six weeks in the role in October of 2018 and before that he’d opened the show’s west end revival. Cuba is the latest in the line of stars to join the Broadway company of Chicago. Cuba is joining the likes of Todrick Hall, Tony Yazbeck, Usher Raymond, and Wayne Brady as one of the few stars to play Billy Flynn on Broadway. Cuba is ready to bring the “razzle dazzle” to the Ambassador Theatre, eight shows a week, and we’re prepared to see him hit his mark and take the stage.
EXCLUSIVE: Broadway Black Behind The Scenes Dreamgirls 35th Anniversary Concert
It’s been 35 years since The Dreamette’s “moved” their way into our hearts, and if you had the childhood I had, your home stereos. Which is why Broadway Black was more than thrilled to learn about the Dreamgirls 35th anniversary concert that would reunite its original stars Sheryl Lee Ralph, Loretta Devine, and Jennifer Holliday. I mean thrilled, to the point I was trying to figure out how to not pay bills thrilled. On July 10th, the ladies performed at their one night only (Ha!), sold-out show in Hollywood, and they were even joined by some of our other favorite performers Frenchie Davis and Mary Wilson!
A night that was sure to be one for the books, it’s a shame that everyone in the world wasn’t able to witness it. However, this is Broadway Black and in true Broadway Black fashion our readers should know by now, WE GOT YOU. Check out an EXCLUSIVE behind the scenes look of the Dreamgirls 35th Anniversary Concert below, brought to you ONLY by Broadway Black.
If you still can’t get enough of Dreamgirls, remember it’s coming to London this fall (and hopefully Broadway after that!).
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