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Exclusive: Our New Dorothy, Shanice Williams Shares Her New Life

Jerrica White

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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.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. K.D. Andrews

    December 2, 2015 at 12:34 PM

    She’s so frickin CUTE!!! I’m pretty sure the world is going to fall in love with her tomorrow night 🙂

  2. Jaz

    December 2, 2015 at 6:49 PM

    I adore her interviews! She seems so humble! Can’t wait for tomorrow night!!

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Behind The Scenes

Behind-The-Scenes: The Men of Ain’t Too Proud VOGUE Photo shoot

Drew Shade

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Derrick Baskin, Jawan M. Jackson. Jeremy Pope. Ephraim Sykes, James Harkness Photo: IG @jawanjackson4

Go behind-the-scenes of the Vogue photo shoot with the men of Ain’t Too Proud.

Leading the cast as The Temptations will be Derrick Baskin as Otis Williams, James Harkness as Paul Williams, Jawan M. Jackson as Melvin Franklin, Jeremy Pope as Eddie Kendricks, and Ephraim Sykes as David Ruffin. The Broadway cast will also feature Esther Antoine, Saint Aubyn, Shawn Bowers, E. Clayton Cornelious, Rodney Earl Jackson Jr., Taylor Symone Jackson, Jahi Kearse, Jarvis B. Manning Jr., Joshua Morgan, Rashidra Scott, Nasia Thomas, Christian Thompson, Curtis Wiley, and Candice Marie Woods.

Ain’t Too Proud is the electrifying new musical that follows The Temptations’ extraordinary journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Five guys. One dream. And a sound that would make music history. With their signature dance moves and unmistakable harmonies, they rose to the top of the charts creating an amazing 42 Top Ten Hits with 14 reaching number one. The rest is history — how they met, the groundbreaking heights they hit, and how personal and political conflicts threatened to tear the group apart as the United States fell into civil unrest. This thrilling story of brotherhood, family, loyalty, and betrayal is set to the beat of the group’s treasured hits, including “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” “Get Ready,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” and so many more.

Ain’t Too Proud will play the Imperial Theatre on February 28th, 2019, with an official Opening Night set for Thursday, March 21, 2019.

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Behind The Scenes

Behind The Curtain: Eclipsed Will Air The Historic Broadway Journey On Centric TV

Drew Shade

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Eclipsed is returning and this time it’s on television. Well, kind of.

According to the press realease:

BET International releases a multi-part documentary series chronicling the ascent and realization of ‘Eclipsed’; a Broadway play all written, directed and acted by women of African descent.

  • Danai Gurira (Zimbabwe), playwright
  • Liesl Tommy, (South Africa), director
  • Lupita Nyong’o (Kenya), actress
  • Akosia Busia, (Ghana), actress
  • Zainab Jah (Sierra Leone), actress
  • Saycon Sengbloh, (Liberia), actress
  • Pascale Armand, (Haiti), actress

A winner of nine accolades including a Tony Award, the play tackles the survival stories of five women near the end of the second Liberian civil war. Written by actress, Danai Gurira who was inspired by a New York Times article about Black Diamond, a female freedom fighter and the female peace activists.

Broken into three episodes, each part delves into a central theme; Context, Cultivation, and Community. The series documents the fearless women using art to combat social injustice and give voice to the voiceless. With a strong production team including Stephen Byrd, Alia Jones Harvey and Michaela Angela Davis the documentary uses cinema-verite style to complement the rehearsal/show footage and ancillary interviews.

Ava L. Hall, executive producer and Vice President, Programming & Brand Advancement, BET International commented:

“It was really important to us to capture and to some extent immortalise the extraordinary stories of these women in Liberia and also the women who fought to bring it to fruition on the other side of the Atlantic, in New York on Broadway. This is a tale of how sisterhood, support and humanity travels globally to create a vision which breaks boundaries, sets new standards and while sobering, inspires a generation to find value and strength in their stories.”

This ground breaking play took its place firmly on Broadway and this documentary will take a place firmly in your heart and mind. Celebrating the intersection of Black and women’s history months airing on March 1, 2017 at 8pm EST on Centric

This is not one you’ll want to miss. You’ll even see a guest appearance from a photoshoot Broadway Black did before the Tony Awards. Live tweet with us tonight! @BroadwayBlack

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