Oz in the News 12.5.15

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‘The Wiz Live!’ Scores Strong Ratings  “The Wiz Live!” drew 11.5 million viewers, roughly 2.3 million more than “Peter Pan.” Roughly 4.3 million of those viewers were ages 18 to 49. The 11.5 million viewers represents the most-viewed Thursday night program, excluding sports, since February. The 18- to 49-year-old viewing figure was the highest Thursday-night tally in that demographic since ABC notched that total in September 2014 for the season premieres of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” and the debut of “How to Get Away With Murder.” It was also NBC’s strongest effort on a Thursday night since “The Sound of Music Live!”

Shanice Williams on Her Road to Dorothy and ‘The Wiz Live!’  “There was one moment where I hit a weird note and I didn’t even know if anyone noticed — I think in “Ease on Down the Road.” But I just got back into it. I was so into my character, it was like an out-of-body experience. I told Ne-Yo, when I get onstage, I don’t even know who I am and when I come off I don’t even remember where I’ve been, because it’s just like a whole other person.”

In ‘The Wiz Live!’ on NBC, a Search for More in the Emerald City  The one truly eye-opening moment came in an interlude at the Emerald City. Men and women did some serious ballroom vogueing in lighting from the House of Tron. It was progressive and inclusive, on the one hand, and deeply natural, on the other. Queen Latifah arrives as the Wiz, whose power — in her interpretation — seemed to come from her fabulous androgyny. This Emerald City was a place of conceptual ingenuity, and it made me feel greedy for more.

Dorothy Before Oz  Jane Yolen, often called “the Hans Christian Andersen of America,” is the author of over 350 published books, including Owl Moon, The Devil’s Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?  About the origins of “Dorothy Before Oz,” she said, “I was in an antique store and saw an old photo of a girl who immediately made me think of Dorothy Gale—same period, her eyes with a far-away look to them, as if she was contemplating travel. The first draft of the poem simply poured out. I paid $2.50 for the photo and it was a grand investment. We poets grab our poetry starters from wherever we can find them.”

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