'The Wiz Live!' Modern References Are Amazing & Prove Even Oz Munchkins Can Hit The Quan
While watching a family-friendly musical on a school night may not be the hippest thing, NBC is sticking with its "tradition" of the live musical with airing The Wiz Live! on Thursday, Dec. 3. And although The Wiz! was originally written as a more modern retelling of The Wizard of Oz, The Wiz Live! added modern references to the 1975 musical that take the NBC event a step further — perhaps in an effort to help up the cool factor. Broadway musicals always have their own wonderful, nerdy brand of logic, but The Wiz Live! is embracing modern dance moves, technology, and phrases — even while in the land of Oz.
The Wiz is definitely more modern than The Sound of Music and Peter Pan, both of which NBC already did as live shows, but using the original script wasn't good enough. Harvey Fierstein was brought in to update The Wiz for the NBC event and along with fleshing out some character backstories, he also decided to make the show appeal a bit more to a modern audience. Fierstein isn't the only one to contribute to the upgrade since choreographer Fatima Robinson teased some newer dance moves. While you admire Dorothy's updated duds, here are some of the other ways The Wiz Live! eased on down into 2015. (Sorry, couldn't help myself.)
Hitting the Quan was promised by choreographer Robinson, and it was delivered almost the second that Dorothy got to Oz. Praise The Wiz!
Amber Riley's Addapearle used her "magic slate" aka iPad to look up Dorothy's name. Even witches embrace technology!
Wands Powered By Batteries
Although she has magic at her disposal, Addapearle needed new batteries (and a clutch?) to fly away from Dorothy and the munchkins. While that technology was around in 1975, it felt like just an added touch for 2015.
The Nae Nae
The Scarecrow's crows did the Nae Nae, to the delight of (almost) all of Twitter.
Elijah Kelley's Scarecrow complimented Ne-Yo's stationary Tin Man by saying "dope" — even if he then followed it up by saying "crockpot"??
Other New School Dances
Don't worry, beyond the Nae Nae and hitting the Quan, the stanky leg, dabbin, and the whip all made appearances.
Common couldn't be just a regular, old gatekeeper. Club music could be heard in the background as Common's Bouncer told Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion that they weren't on the list to enter the Emerald City. Don't worry, Dorothy used her connection to Addapearle to get in.
Once Dorothy & co. got through the Emerald City gates, Madonna's more "classic" dance move — the Vogue — got some significant screen time.
A "Wannabe" Reference?
When the quartet finally got in front of Queen Latifah's The Wiz, she asked them, "Tell me what you want. What you really, really want?" How could that not be an allusion to the song "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls?
Dorothy referred to the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion as her "squad" when they tried to abandon her in her task to defeat the Wicked Witch Evillene. Not cool, dudes.
An Eddie Murphy Reference
When Evillene did make her appearance, it was brief. But she made the most of it, including asking one of her new servants, "You some kind of Eddie Murphy?"
Images: Virginia Sherwood/NBC; Caroline Wurtzel/Bustle