"Ease On Down The Road" Performances In 'The Wiz Live!' Will Have The Famous Song Stuck In Your Head All Week
Whether NBC's latest live musical is your first introduction to The Wiz or you are a long time fan, it's exciting to see all of the musical numbers with this all-star cast. How was "Ease On Down The Road" in The Wiz Live! ? It's one of the show's most recognizable tunes, likely due to Diana Ross and Michael Jackson's iconic partnership in the 1978 movie, and after the new Dorothy and her friends gave us multiple renditions Thursday night, I think I can say that we're going to be humming it for a while!
I enjoyed the production and all of the performances overall, especially newcomer Shanice Williams as Dorothy, but watching it Thursday night made realize that "Ease On Down The Road" is really not a huge moment in The Wiz. It's the equivalent of "We're Off To See The Wizard" in this adaptation of L. Frank Baum's Oz adventure, and similarly the song has several reprises. However, they're all pretty short! It's not a big production number with lots of dancers or big set pieces, either. That said, "Ease On Down The Road" is a catchy, simple song that was well executed (except for a few bizarre camera choices) by everyone involved. Check out one of its performances from The Wiz Live! below.
We started out with just Dorothy and the Scarecrow, played by Hairspray's Elijah Kelley. The song worked best the second time, when it was a transition after the introduction of Ne-Yo's Tin Man, as they moved from the junkyard into the forest and the sets moved around them. That was a seamless piece of live television. "Ease On Down The Road" also functioned well as a plot device when they had to convince David Alan Grier as the Cowardly Lion to going with them. Not to be too cheesy, but they really needed to ease him into joining them on this journey.
This isn't to belittle the importance of smaller moments in musical theatre, either. The song is essentially the glue that holds The Wiz together, and I loved it!
Images: Virginia Sherwood/NBC; Caroline Wurtzel/Bustle