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Can’t you feel a brand new day? By now you’ve probably watched The Wiz Live! behind the scenes special on NBC last Wednesday, caught the performance at Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, set your DVR, and bought your tickets to come to the super awesome Broadway Black viewing party to get you pumped for The Wiz Live! this Thursday. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?

As it is, this happens to be the season of giving and over here at Broadway Black we value the performers and productions we write about, but we also value all of our readers.  So in the spirit of giving, Broadway Black has some exclusive interviews with the cast and creative team of The Wiz Live! that should hold you over until December 3rd at 8 p.m. Check out our interview with Amber Riley and Stephanie Mills as they talk about their roles, being apart of something “iconic” and their Broadway futures!

Broadway Black (BB): Now you’re playing Addaperle. That’s different from people who are used to watching the movie where there is Miss One. How did you find the difference between dong this role and not taking from the movie and not taking from previous renditions of it?
Amber Riley(AR):  That was really hard because I cannot count the amount of times that I’ve watch the movie. But I think I just tried to kind of erase my mind. I went over it at home and I did things that I found that were funny. Like the things  in the lines I tried to just find the comedy in it. [Trying it] in a way that I would say it, not the way somebody else would deliver it. And when I first did it I actually got laughs, so I was like okay I did a good job!
BB: So what have you discovered about Aunt Em that have given you any aha moments from your previous experience with The Wiz? Like “oh this is what this means” or “oh this is something that has changed my view of this show.” 
Stephanie Mills (SM): Well Aunt Em is drastically different from Dorothy  having a son and being an aunt. Dorothy, she wasn’t worried about nothing but Toto. With Aunt Em I’m worried about Dorothy, I’m worried about the storm coming, so it’s very maternal.
When asked if they were nervous about performing on live televsion, Riley laughs. Mills chimes in “She’s done this before! I’ve never done this. She’s comfortable. I’m not. I’m petrified! But what saves it is that we are rehearsing it like it was a show. I think that’s whats making us really comfortable. So when Dec 3rd comes we’ll be ready.”
BB: So do you think not having an audience and doing this live version, does that take away from the theatre aspect?
SM: Me doing Broadway and theatre you’re trained to not care — not care, but not to react to laughter so it doesn’t bother me too much.
BB: But the energy is different correct?
AR: Yeah, but I do TV (laughs), so I’m used to performing to the crew. 
BB: What are you most excited to see. Even though you might not be apart of the scene, what part of the production are you most excited to see? What are you excited about?
AR: I can’t wait to see Shanice. I’m telling you that girl, she’s a star. 
SM: Yes!
AR: This is really, this is iconic. The fact that this was something that was created so long ago and people from different ages are excited to see it and know what it is. When you can withstand tests of time, you know it’s great. [The Wiz} is something my mom saw when she was young and now it means something to me. That’s really great and now my niece is going to be able to watch and she’s four years old.
SM: [On what connects people to The Wiz] I think because everyone needs courage, brains, and everyone wants to have a heart. You know what I’m saying, it relates to feelings and growing up. Dorothy goes through all of that to realize what she had was right there at home, right inside of her and I think we all do that. I know I’ve gone through it. It relates to everybody.
After it’s all said and done, Riley wants nothing more than to get back to the sunshine of LA and get back to her own “home.” However we have a feeling Ms. Riley won’t stray from New York City for too long.
BB: So is this a good transition for you into the theatre community?
AR: Yes. (laughs) I already knew you were gonna ask me that. 
BB: Is there an ideal role that you have?
AR: Yes there is and I can’t talk about it yet. 
BB: For another time?
AR: (Still laughing) Yes for another time. 
The Wiz Live! airs Thursday, December 3rd at 8:00 p.m. EST only on NBC.
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