‘The Wiz’ Just Might Be The Business

So, that video we saw of Ashanti singing "Home" during her warm-up for this fall's Broadway debut? Yeah, that was like the bland appetizer to what could be one of the best meals you'll ever have. Check out the rest of the cast: Tichina Arnold (Martin, Everybody Hates Chris) as Evillene the Wicked Witch, LaChanze (The Color Purple) as Glinda the Good Witch, Dawnn Lewis (A Different World) as Addaperle and Orlando Jones (Drumline) as The Wiz! Um, sign me up! The show is currently in previews at the New York City Centerstage through July 5th, with a fall Broadway debut date still to be determined. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm on my way to the box office to secure my ducats. STAT. [H/T: WH]

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11 Responses

  1. Tichina Arnold as Evilleen, excellent casting! She can really hit the lows and pull off that gruffy voice when she sings.

  2. I don't like the way these versions are arranged.

  3. Ashanti impressed me at the end there...but LaChanze(who?) is giving me swine flu with all that hammy hollering...hmm...I'd see it tho.

  4. I didnt think Ashanti had the chops to get a lead role in a musical, I mean come she's no Stephanie Mills:) but she did way better then I thought.

  5. Am I hater because I think Ashanti sounds a mess?
    I saw Lachanze in the Color Purple & she was amazing-I saw it 3 times (once with Fantasia who was surprisingly a PHENOM)
    I hate that everyone has fake nails-is this supposed to be a period piece? ehhh if they have rush tickets i'll go but i'm not shelling out big bucks

  6. Avatar

    First I'll give props to Ashanti, because it really seems she'll be able to hold her own and we all know she had huge shoes to fill playing Dorothy..However, I agree with nOva. I've seen the play twice, once with Stephanie and once when Tony Terry was the Tinman and Cece Peniston was Glenda (OMG it was awesome), so I have high expectations lol..Something about this production is totally lacking. I can't put my finger on it, but it almost seems watered down IMO. I'd like to see Tichina though, I know she kills Evilene..

  7. After seeing many previews and hearing the buzz...I am moved to seeing this. Ashanti is NOT the selling factor but the entire cast is. As a long time fan of this musical, I want to see how they pull this off (I mean dayum if Oprah can turn the Color Purple into a musical making LaChanze a household name--she played Celie--then this shouldn't be too hard of a feat to make this an awesome event).

  8. Ashanti is still the weakest link in this amazing cast. Every time they show a clip of her singing these songs, I feel my body tightening in anticipation and craving that fullness of voice these songs require and then leaning back, unsatisfied when she's done. She makes Diana sound like a vocal dynamo. LaChanze is also no Lena.

  9. Ok...what I dont understand in a cast of this calibre - even if they wanted the commercial element to attract crowds...Ashanti? Really. Maybe for the movie remake where they could effect the vocals the way they did with Diana Ross who at least had personality for days if not great vocals. The theatrical piece was Stephanie Mills standard...Ashanti singing home was like a contestant in the semi-final round of American Idol - you know she is not going to make it to the final 12. Where was Heather Headley??? She would have brought this house down as Dorothy. Talking about American Idol - Tamyra Gray, Trenyce, La Toya London, Vonzell Solomon, Paris Bennett, Melinda Doolittle, Syesha Mercado, Lil Rounds.....any one of those girls would have sang down on this. What a machine this Broadway mess is sometimes.

  10. Sorry, I can't get past Ashanti as Dorothy. It's disturbing.

  11. This has to be my all time favorite Broadway play and screenplay with Diana Ross. In watching this preview I think the entire cast seemed boring. None of the songs have that oomph. LaChanze can't sing and didn't do any of the songs justice. Ashanti sounded cute but not great her singing was lackluster. I know these songs word for word and the energy from past performances was awesome it just doesn't carry over into this 21st century version.
    I will add that the Lion sounded the best and ToTo was as usual the cutest little dog.