LAUGH!!!!!!!! Time to Reflect on the way things were….(“THE WIZ”)

Posted by Gabriel (G²) on November 15, 2007

 Back down Memory Lane (REMEMBER “THE WIZ” ya’ll??)

It was an adaption of the “WIZARD OF OZ”…..from a BLACK PERSPECTIVE.

The Wiz is a 1975 Broadway musical, an adaptation by Ken Harper of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, exclusively featuring African American actors. The play features music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls, and starred Stephanie Mills, Hinton Battle, Tiger Haynes, Ted Ross, Dee Dee Bridgewater, André DeShields, Tasha Thomas and Mabel King. The Broadway version opened on January 5, 1975 and ended on January 28, 1979, and ran for 1,672 performances. A motion picture adaptation of The Wiz was produced in 1978 (see 1978 in film) by Motown Productions and Universal Pictures, starring Diana Ross (no relation to Ted), Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Lena Horne, Richard Pryor, and Mabel King.


The Broadway musical opened on January 5, 1975 with Stephanie Mills as Dorothy, Hinton Battle as Scarecrow, Tiger Haynes as Tin Man, Ted Ross as Lion, Dee Dee Bridgewater as Glinda the Good Witch, André DeShields as the Wiz and Mabel King as Evillene the Wicked Witch of the West. The production was directed by Geoffrey Holder. The Wiz opened at the Majestic Theatre and later moved to The Broadway Theatre. It ran for four years and over 1600 performances, and won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The most popular song from the production was “Ease on Down the Road“, sung by the characters as they dance down the Yellow Brick Road.

Along with other musicals like Purlie (1971) and Raisin (1974), The Wiz was a breakthrough for Broadway, a large-scale big-budget musical featuring an all-black cast. It laid the foundation for later African-American hits like Bubbling Brown Sugar, Dreamgirls and Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies.

It never performed on London’s West End, but a handful of amateur and semi-professional productions have appeared in Britain with black and non-black casts.

During the tour, Stephanie Mills was replaced by Rene Harris in 1976. Deborah Malone replaced Harris in 1978.

[edit] Motion picture

For more details on this topic, see The Wiz (film).

Motown Productions acquired the film rights to The Wiz in 1977, and signed Stephanie Mills in anticipation of having her star in the film adaptation. Motown singer and actress Diana Ross asked Motown CEO Berry Gordy to cast her as Dorothy instead, but Gordy declined, feeling the thirty-three year old Ross was far too old for the part. However, Ross contacted Rob Cohen of Universal Pictures, who offered to have Universal finance the film if Ross were to play Dorothy, at which point Gordy acquiesced.

The resulting film version of The Wiz also starred former Motown star Michael Jackson as The Scarecrow, Nipsey Russell as the Tin Man, and Lena Horne as Glinda the Good Witch. Ted Ross and Mabel King reprised their respective roles of the Cowardly Lion and Evilene from the Broadway production. Sidney Lumet served as director, working with screenwriter Joel Schumacher (who used none of Brown’s stage script) and music supervisor Quincy Jones. Although the stage musical’s setting begins in Kansas before moving into the fanciful Oz (as do most other versions of the Oz stories), the film version of The Wiz is set in New York City: Dorothy’s real-life home is in Harlem, and the Oz of the film is an alternate fantasy version of the rest of New York City. The $22 million production was poorly received by critics and grossed only $12 million during its original theatrical release.

The Wiz was Michael Jackson’s first feature film, and Diana Ross’s final theatrical feature film. Its commercial failure helped to bring to an end the stream of all-black films that had begun with the “blaxploitation film” era of the 1970s.[citation needed] However, Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones’s collaboration on the film’s soundtrack led to Jones producing three of Jackson’s most successful albums, Off the Wall, Thriller, and Bad. In later years, due to its recurrent broadcasts on television, The Wiz has become something of a cult classic among African-American audiences.[citation needed]


Now with all of that said (as well as the fact that the ORIGINAL WIZARD OF OZ HAD SOME VERY INTRIGUING PARALLELS/ALLUSIONS TO THE POLITICAL ARENA OF THE DAY AND THE MENTALITIES OF MODERN CULTURE ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_interpretations_of_The_Wonderful_Wizard_of_Oz )

some things worth remembering……..

Proverbs 15:13
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.

All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.
Proverbs 15:14-16

Proverbs 15:30
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.

Proverbs 17:22
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

 Another silly post for the day, but I wanted to place it up for 2 reasons:

1) There are far too many issues taking place in the world for folks to become so obsessed with dealing with them that they become unable to LAUGH (which can be just as deadly as falling into any doctrinal error or being unaware of a world event taking place)……& the fact of the matter is that this video is one of the FUNNIEST things I’ve seen in a LONG TIME…

2.) This, IMHO, is what a REAL MUSICAL IS ALL ABOUT. Kids  ARE all excited about High School Musical, but for those of the folks who are OLD SKOOL (note: it may vary, but I consider OLD SKOOL to be anywhere from the late 70’s to the 90’s…..& I was born in 1986 BUT REMEMBER BEING EXPOSED TO ALL THE OLD SKOOL STUFF LIKE THE WIZ, PURPLE RAIN, THE JEFFERSONS, the COSBEYS and an entire host of other shows to boot)….i told them i was going to find The Wiz and Mary Poppins so they could see a real musical.

3.) Just felt like taking a good old trip down MEMORY LANE……& prayerfully someone out there feels the same way.

Part 1 

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15


Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

A Time for Everything

 1 There is a time for everything,
       and a season for every activity under heaven:

 2 a time to be born and a time to die,
       a time to plant and a time to uproot,

 3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
       a time to tear down and a time to build,

 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
       a time to mourn and a time to dance,………


2 Responses to “LAUGH!!!!!!!! Time to Reflect on the way things were….(“THE WIZ”)”

  1. What a nice walk down memory lane… or should I say down the yellow brick road?! Thanks for that! In Christ, Talya

  2. returnofthewiz said

    This blog is a prayer. I grew up watching The Wiz, and now 30 years later I have written, “Return Of The Wiz,” and now I can’t wait to dive in. I have never thought of the Wiz as a spiritual film but I believe in some ways that the Lord has spoken his word through parables through this film. Thank you for sharing and if you would like to know more about, “Return Of The Wiz,” blog on to http://www.returnofthewiz.wordpress.com

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