Shanice Williams The Wiz

Shanice Williams Cast as Dorothy in NBC's The Wiz Live

At long last, NBC’s live production of The Wiz has found its Dorothy.

Newcomer Shanice Williams, 18, has been tapped to play the iconic leading lady, the Peacock network announced Wednesday during the Today show.

This announcement comes less than 24 hours after NBC revealed that veteran comedian David Alan Grier will be donning the Cowardly Lion’s mane for the upcoming affair. Additionally, Queen Latifah will play the Wizard, while Mary J. Blige will play the Wicked Witch of the West.

Stephanie Mills, who played Dorothy in The Wiz‘s original Broadway production, will play Aunt Em.

The live event airs Thursday, Dec. 3.

Your thoughts on The Wiz Live‘s cast? Drop ’em in a comment below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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60 Comments
  1. Sally McLinn says:

    Is Queen Latifah going to dress as a man; otherwise it’s not the WIZ?

    • BTM says:

      Why can’t the Wizard be a woman? Why would it matter?

      • Simon Jester says:

        It would matter because you would need to rewrite the score; the part is written for a tenor.

        • Kristen says:

          Um.. pretty sure she can sing at a higher or lower octave without changing the entire score.

        • T.W.123 says:

          They may not have to, The Wiz is a tenor- but Queen has a pretty deep alto range. Any changes to the score would likely be minimal. Especially because the Wiz doesn’t sing nearly as much as other characters in the show.

        • Lizo says:

          I’m sure Queen can handle it, but it’s also not hard to augment the score for a voice range. Any music student can do it, let alone the professionals they have working on this production, heck Queen herself can do it.

        • Jared says:

          Any professional musician can change the key of a piece of music to fit whoever is singing it. Calm down its really not a big deal.

    • John says:

      Its whatever she ‘identifies’ as at the moment

  2. BTM says:

    That sounds like an amazing cast! So who are up for the Tin Man and Scarecrow?

    I ‘d love to see Yazz as the Scarecrow, myself.

  3. mika says:

    I would like to see Usher as the scarecrow if they could get him.

  4. Maria says:

    Heard her sing this morning on the Today Show. She has a great voice with tons of power.

  5. Susannah says:

    The casting is great so far and I love that they chose a newcomer for Dorothy. I’m really looking forward to this!

  6. mia says:

    Omg finally NBC, your casting choices fir the first time in these musicals are spot on, can’t wait

  7. Lizo says:

    Oh cool! Glad they’re going with a newcomer, it’ll add some surprise to the event. I’m sure she has the pipes and acting chops to do it too. Glad they didn’t cast Beyoncé, cause she can’t act

  8. LaLa says:

    I was skeptical at first, but the more I hear about it, the more excited I’m become.

  9. Jay says:

    Absolutely horrible! Dorothy is white.

    I am tired of white roles being recast for blacks!

    Absolutely will not watch this black show.

    • Mrs. Tran K says:

      WOW!

    • LaLa says:

      ::chuckles:: Clean yourself up. Your ignorance is showing.

    • Shelly says:

      Seriously? You do realize that this is The Wiz, and not The Wizard Of Oz, right?

    • nate says:

      There’s the comment I was waiting on

    • Mary says:

      Says the person who’s never seen the movie with Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.

    • Maria says:

      Let’s suppose for a minute that this was The Wizard of Oz instead of The Wiz. So what if they wanted to cast a black Dorothy? Annie was just remade last year with a black Annie and a black “Daddy Warbucks” (the character had a different name however) and it was absolutely delightful. But hey if it really wrecks your day that much, don’t watch.

    • James says:

      Have you actually watched The Wiz movie? Diana Ross played Dorothy on that film.

    • penney says:

      And your point is?……ok

    • shellybot says:

      There is always one racist in the mix. It is painfully obvious you do not know the difference between “THE WIZ” and “The Wizard of Oz”! THE WIZ is the Afro-American Broadway musical adaptation of the film The Wizard of Oz. It was later adapted to film with Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. The Wiz will always consist of an all Afro-American cast. Therefore, “white” roles were not recast with “Blacks”.

    • Bradlee TheDawg says:

      What an amazing racist idiot you are. I guess you weren’t aware of the adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz” called “The Wiz” that played on Broadway starting in 1975 (you know, that place in New York City with all them “thee-aters”) … with the all-black cast starring Stephanie Mils on Broadway and Dianna Ross in the movie version (in 1978). It won SEVEN Tony awards including “Best Musical”. Michael Jackson was also in the film. What I’m trying to convey here – this thing of adapting the Wizard of Oz to a black cast is not a new idea.

    • Don't worry about it. says:

      Jay has a very good point. I get it……it’s not the wizard of oz but it is a remake of it with a black cast. Just like the black version of Steal Magnolias and Annie. If whites took a black movie and cast all white it would be racist. Next it will be an all black cast remake of Star Wars.

      • Marisa says:

        I agree!! I’m so tired of any comment that a white person makes has to be racist but they can say whatever they want.

      • Wrong The Wiz is NOT based on the 1939 movie with Judy Garland its a different adaptation of the book by L. Frank Baum that was written in 1900. The Wiz retells Baum’s book in a African American/multicultural context. Also The Wiz started out as Broadway in 1975 which garnered 7 Tony Awards. FYI the Judy Garland film was not the first Wizard of Oz there were several silent films before it and you are racist because skin color should mater. They are fictional characters and when you start complaining about there skin color your are racist. Just face it.

    • Deborah says:

      You’re a fool!

    • Wow this is the sickest and most ignorant comment I have ever read before. First you should know The Wiz is 40 years old and started out on Broadway in 1975 winning 7 Tony Awards. It became a movie in 1978 with Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Its NOT based on version with Judy Garland film. Its a different adaptation of the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum told in a African American/multicultural context so if Dorothy was white that defeat the artistic vision of the show. The Judy Garland film is not the first Wizard of Oz movie there were several silent films before it. Quit judging people by there skin color and stop the racism. Your what’s the world today.

  10. J Coston says:

    I was praying for the role of the Lion would be James Monroe Iglehart. He is fantastic as the genie in Aladdin

  11. Sheila says:

    Is she an actress? Not finding a lot of info on her.

  12. westking4 says:

    So somehow Brian Williams got another one of his kids the part? Hard to believe.

  13. Shawn says:

    Queen will play a great wiz. She has 3 big songs that she will slay . So u wanted to meet the wizard, tall got it and believe in urself. She will be great

  14. Troy says:

    Very frustrating this is an all black cast. There would be outrage if it was all white. This perpetuates the struggles we have overcoming racism and other issues. This demonstrates our double-standards.

    • Your stupidity astounds me. The Wiz is a different adaptation of the book by L. Frank Baum that was written in 1900. The Wiz retells Baum’s book in a African American/multicultural context. Also The Wiz started out as Broadway in 1975 which garnered 7 Tony Awards. You are racist because skin color should mater. They are fictional characters and when you start complaining about there skin color your are racist. Just face it.

    • Your so stupid its sad. The Wiz has been around for 40 years. Started out on Broadway in 1975 as a African American/multicultural adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It garnered 7 Tony Awards. It became a movie in 1978 with Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. They fact that you sickened by the color of there skin sickens me. Skin color does not matter were all the same on the inside. If MLK could see this racism he’d be spinning his grave.

  15. Thatsracist says:

    That stupid show is very racist anyone else realize the pattern with the characters?

  16. jenniferzavala12@gmail.com says:

    I feel this is a reverse racism. Why must ppl remake classics like this. You don’t see Asian or Mexican Americans doing this. Want a classic all black cast you have many and get a writer and make more. Sorry but I like my classics and don’t think remaking in all black cast does nothing for black americans.

    • Durell Griffin says:

      You do realize that this piece was written 40 years ago because of the lack of diversity on stage, everything was all white. So someone decided to change that and wrote something just for us. Why can’t we have something of our own why is that so bad and why does that make us racist.

  17. Janet says:

    Why does the main cast consist of all black people?

  18. Deborah says:

    Where’s Toto?…..

  19. Frederick Smith says:

    My entire family is doing what we been asking other family members and friends to do,,To join us in this venture. This is great. Please present an Encore broadcast . The world will be talking about this show in days to come.

  20. Flo says:

    I’m distracted with the fact they are lipsyncing. Just didn’t expect this.

  21. Willie Render says:

    I am really feeling, the Wiz good seeing African Americans play roles in ethnic of characters on Broadway, can’t wait for a snow black and the seven dwarfs, would be amazing especially how far America has come still some work needs to be done……

  22. yvette doyle says:

    Shaneice Williams is doing a great job playing Dorothy. She’s very talented this show is great the grandchildren are loving it their eyes are glued to the Tv. God many blessing be with u Shaneice Williams!!!!

    • Where has this girl been? Shanice is on the road to stardom. She sounds so much like Stephanie Mills.

      On other note, I am disappointed in the fact that the producers, network etc allowed her to say “con-ver-sate” instead of the proper enunciation which is con-ver-se or kan-verse. That was very surprising. Young people are watching this, we should be setting an example. Other than that the play was very well done.

  23. Sha says:

    The show was a HIT!! I mean a job well done!!!! by EVERYONE envoled. I loved every minute of it!… and very FUNNY!!!. This site says august 2015. But I’m talking about dec 3, 2015.

  24. Brenda Thomas says:

    Those costumes were off the chain. Great job everybody, my family watched it as a time together we really, really, really enjoyed it.

  25. Ray Hamilton says:

    Where there any White Dancers in the Show?