Broadway Black recently met up with America’s beloved younger sister, Shanice Williams. Her excitement was contagious and she lit up the room with her laughter as she gave us insight into her preparation for the role of Dorothy in NBC’s The Wiz Live!
I think it’s safe to say that we can all connect to Dorothy’s story. We’ve all, at one time or another, felt lost, lonely, and out of our element. More often than not these experiences have led us back to our own version of home, stronger and more resilient.
Shanice certainly relates. Just a couple months ago, she was a Jersey girl who found herself far from home in her first few semesters at AMDA, a performing arts college in Los Angeles, California. Since then she’s made a pretty remarkable journey back home.
After being in Los Angeles for a year she realized “I wasn’t feeling the school and I had to look for a new one.” Although she was following her dreams and studying theatre, she reflects “I remember there were days where I would just cry. No matter what anyone else thinks, I know I can’t be here.” It was time to come home, but in no way did that mean deferring her dream. She auditioned for The Wiz Live! the day after she came home.
“I never got cast in a show at college, but dreams come true and nothing is impossible.” Out of hundreds of new comers, Shanice landed the role of a lifetime and she doesn’t take the importance of this role lightly. She has been profoundly impacted by The Wiz and can’t wait to cultivate the love of this timeless work in the hearts of this generation. Her version of Dorothy reflects 2015 in that her character “handles things the way she does” and as for the entire production, she says “every dance we do now, in the classiest way.” (Did anyone else see the cast do the “Nae Nae” at The Macy’s Day Parade!?)
In the midst of all of the excitement, our favorite Jersey girl remains rooted and makes time for herself and her friends. Her friends jokingly record, “What Dorothy Does In Her Free Time,” which has this 19 year old “always on her A game.”
As for what’s next, Shanice says she’s ready to sleep! The biggest thing she’s learned is to stay humble, keep God first, and that it’s “all about the work.” Speaking wisdom perhaps beyond her age, she reminds us that if you lose sight of this, “it all goes down hill.”
Just like us, she loves all things Audra McDonald and seeks to span her career into film, Broadway, and TV— whatever opportunity that makes sense, just like Queen Audra! We hope her yellow brick road leads to her playing Dorothy on Broadway and many more leading ladies! One thing we know for sure is that her yellow brick road is paved with gold.
The Wiz Live! airs on Thursday, December 3 at 8pm EST on NBC. Join us for our watching party! For tickets click HERE.