I love “The Wiz.” I saw it when I was a little kid when a then unknown Stephanie Mills played the role of Dorthy and tore down the house and racial barriers around the crafting of stage performances. So when I saw that Encores was putting on a production of “The Wiz” I knew I had to see it. Now I am NOT an Ashanti fan and I knew that when they casted her as Dorthy I was pretty much going to hate it. And I was 100% correct! Ashanti adds nothing to this performance at all. She is totally out sung and out acted by just about everyone in the play. Ashanti’s performance of “Home” left sooo many under whelmed that I saw many people leaving the show during her version of “Home.” Now someone who can sing this song correctly will have you glued to your seat. Ashanti makes you glad you used the discount code for the $25 ticket. We would have rather have seen Jazmine Sullivan casted at Dorthy. I don’t know if she can act but I do think she would have done a better job vocally.
Check out this video clip of Jazmine signing “Home” at age 11.
But the show is not all bad. Tichina Arnold saves the show as Evilene the Wicked Witch. She basically channels her inner Drag Queen to bring this character to life and it’s a total delight. This time we where cheering for Evilene to block the water and make Dorthy melt away. The dancing in the show was pretty good and the set design was creative and well done. We hope to see someone else fully revive The Wiz and do it 100% justice. The Wiz in its hay day was on Broadway for 4 years and won 7 Tony awards. And we think that with a better cast or at least without Ashanti this could be a revival worth seeing.