After the success of The Sound of Music Live! and Peter Pan Live!, NBC is producing The Wiz Live!, a televised adaptation of the 1975 musical The Wiz, which itself is a more modern retelling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz featuring an all-black cast. The production is set to include some of the best hip hop and R&B performers working today, including Ne-Yo, Common, and Mary J. Blige, so the music should be excellent. In a rare instance for classic shows, the production will also add a brand new song to The Wiz, "We Got It," a musical number to look forward to during Thursday night's special.
This star-studded production of The Wiz, premiering over 40 years after the original Broadway show, is making quite a few changes to update the piece for a modern audience. It's lead by writer and Broadway legend Harvey Fierstein, who "brought The Wiz from 1975 to now in 2015," as Stephanie Mills, The Wiz's original Dorothy, told The Daily Beast. She also said the other creative forces behind the production, specifically musical directors Harvey Mason Jr. and Stephen Oremus, have worked to "marry a Broadway sound of 40 years ago with hipper modern musical tastes." All of this seems to be culminating in a brand new song that will be getting a very prominent spot in the production. Fans won't get to hear the song until the The Wiz Live! airs, but here's everything we know about "We Got It" so far.
It Was Co-Written by Ne-Yo
In addition to playing the role of the Tin Man, Ne-Yo's involvement with The Wiz Live! extended to helping pen the new original song. Director Kenny Leon told Playbill that "Ne-Yo does a lot of things great, but he is a better writer than anything… [I said] 'Let's give him a shot.'" Upon hearing the finished product, he said, "I was listening to it on my phone in Manhattan, walking down 51st Street, and I was just crying because I was like, 'F*ck! He's got it!'" Ne-Yo worked with co-star Elijah Kelley on the song, as well as Mason Jr. and Oremus. With this strong set of collaborators, the song is bound to be an interesting mix of Broadway sensibilities and Ne-Yo's knack for writing fantastic R&B jams.
It's About Friendship
Musical theater, as an art form, is all about people coming together for a common goal: to put on a show. It's no wonder then, that some of the most popular songs in musical theater are about people coming together to overcome their obstacles, which seems to be exactly what "We Got It" is about. told the Los Angeles Times that the song is about answering the question, "If I look over my shoulder, ‘is this the person I can go to war with?'...That’s the message of the show. That's the message I think brings people in."
It's The Act I Closing Number
The Act I closing number in a musical is usually one of the most grand, earth-shattering moments in a production. Songs like Wicked's "Defying Gravity," Les Miserables' "One Day More," and Gypsy's "Everything's Coming Up Roses" are just a few examples of the pedigree of first act closing numbers, but director Kenny Leon told Playbill he noticed that The Wiz doesn't have one. "When the producers approached me ... I already knew that there needed to be a song at the end of the first act that the four friends would do," he said. The prime slot for the number means that it's not going to be a subtle, slow song. Instead, it's safe to predict that "We Got It" will be a powerful, bombastic musical number that will close out the first act in a spectacular fashion.
The Wiz Live! premieres on December 3rd at 8 p.m. EST on NBC, and you can tune in to discover for yourself how "We Got It" fits alongside classic Broadway numbers like "Ease On Down The Road," "A Brand New Day," and "Home."
Images: Virginia Sherwood/NBC, Giphy (3)