The Wiz Live finds its Dorothy

After holding open auditions a few months ago NBC has found their Dorothy.  Eighteen year old Shanice Williams from New Jersey has landed the role of Dorothy in the upcoming The Wiz Live.

ShaniceWilliams2

NBC’s “The Wiz Live!” has found its Dorothy in newcomer Shanice Williams.

The 18-year-old, who was selected out of hundreds of applicants from a nationwide, open casting call, will join the titular Wiz Queen Latifah, Wicked Witch of the West Mary J. Blige and Cowardly Lion David Alan Grier in the live NBC show, it was announced Wednesday on “Today.”

Stephanie Mills, who starred as Dorothy in the original Broadway production of the African-American adaptation, has landed the part of Aunt Em.

The Wiz will mark Williams’ TV debut. She co-starred in several plays in her home state of New Jersey, including “West Side Story,” “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” “42nd Street” and “Pippin.”

The Wiz follows NBC’s live musical specials of “The Sound of Music” and “Peter Pan.” Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who were behind both of the aforementioned NBC productions, will exec produce “The Wiz Live.” Kenny Leon is stage director, and Matthew Diamond is TV director, with Harvey Fierstein providing new written material.

I will admit I thought they would cast a well known actress/singer. I’m glad to hear they cast a newcomer instead of the usual suspects. It’s good to see a unknown black actress get this kind of opportunity.

Williams, who was nominated for a Paper Mill Playhouse’s Rising Star Award last year for her role in Rahway’s “Crazy for You,” recently completed her freshman year at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles.

What an amazing voice. I can’t wait to watch The Wiz Live in December.

Congrats to Shanice!!!

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