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The Wiz, Black Movie Musical Classic

Updated on October 28, 2012

This is not a review.

It's just a article about loving the 'The Wiz', the musical starring an all black cast based on the great story the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum.

The timeless classic, the book i mean has stood the test of time. Along with the book being an American classic, so is the movie starring Judy Garland with her ruby red slippers and famous auntie Em.

Judy's version is awesome, so take no offense when i state that most of the children of color still did not have any real identification with the little white girl living on a farm in Kansas, but like most things dealing with human emotions we understood her feelings of neglect and those presented by the scarecrow, the lion and the tin man.

Yet, speaking personally i could more easily relate with a young black woman afraid to explore and move out on her own. Shedding the protective covering of her aunt and uncle.

The Wiz is a colorful urbanized, depiction of a timeless story dealing with all that is common to man, mankind that is, dealing with fears. Fears of any kind, it targeted the brain, the heart and our own personal courage.

While establishing that there is nothing like home to bind all these qualities together, which really links us with the idea of love and protection.

This film version was adapted, written and visualized by Joel Schumacher, from William F. Brown's Broadway libretto. Schumacher, who wanted to make a small budget film as he got his name out and recognized in the biz, soon re thought the small idea when Motown mogul, Berry Gordy and Diana Ross became involved in the project.

Reasons i love The Wiz

  • songs, songs and songs
  • lyrics,
  • music
  • message of hope and encouragement
  • costumes
  • vision of the artist
  • stars, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross
  • dancing

Things i didn't know until i was an adult

  • A Broadway hit show, winning 2 Tony's for it's accomplishment, Best Musical and Best Original Musical Score
  • Four Academy award nominations, Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction, Best Original Musical Score and Best Cinematography
  • Diana Ross was not the original lead actress as Dorothy, it was actually Stephanie Mills, since she was not the original director's choice, he quit, then it was directed by Sidney Lumet
  • Michael Jackson, as the scarecrow, teen idol making movie debut
  • Nipsey Russell, the tin man,
  • Ted Ross, the lion, played the part on stage as well
  • Mabel King, Evilene, played the part on stage as well
  • Teresa Merrit, Auntie Em
  • Lena Horne, Glinda, the good witch
  • Richard Pryor, the phony Wizard, Herman Smith
  • Twice as many songs as any other black musical, written by Charlie Smalls, Luther Vandross and arranged by Quincy Jones, along with other songs by Ashford and Simpson
  • choreography by Oswald Morris
  • Motown productions, 8th movie
  • A colossal failure both critical and commercially because of the 1970's blaxploitation period

I love the Wiz and like most things making a resurgence among film lover's both artistic, musical and otherwise. It's sense of hope and encouragement is awesome...

Take a look at the Wiz and enjoy yourself for 134 minutes.


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