An exuberant, inventive “The Wiz Live!” on Thursday night breathed new life into the notion of full-scale musicals on live TV with a happy serving of 70s soul and R&B, updated with a 2015 vibe.
Starring a nice mix of pop music heavyweights, Hollywood stars and Broadway veterans, the show had a heart and playfulness that was missing from “The Sound of Music Live!” with Carrie Underwood and “Peter Pan Live!” It even came in under three hours.
This time 12 cameras on Long Island captured even higher stakes with complicated costumes, fire bursts, LED screens, a live dog, smoke and Cirque Du Soleil acrobats in bouncy prosthetic stilts that looked sort of like curved snowshoes. And, in a nice touch, Stephanie Mills, the original Broadway Dorothy, played Auntie Em.
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