The Wiz Live! Shanice Williams – She’s A Real-Life Dororthy!By Delaina Dixon | December 3, 2015 | Entertainment
It’s finally here! The Wiz Live! airs live tonight on NBC at 8p.m. and we’ve saved the show’s newest star Shanice Williams, who plays Dorothy, for our final interview! At only 19, Shanice was selected by the powers behind The Wiz Live!, executive producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, on a recommendation from director Kenny Leon, who says Shanice walked into the audition room and he knew she was their girl! Read on to find out how she got the role, why she’s just like Dorothy and the first person she splurged on (it wasn’t herself!).
How She Got The Role. “A lot of people don’t know, I auditioned for this the day after I got off the plane from Los Angeles. I was in school, and it was a rough time in my life, I felt that I didn’t belong there, but I knew that when I came home I had to do something with my life, I didn’t know what was next. But I knew performing was what I wanted to do, so I thought if I go to this audition, I’ll at least know what a huge audition is like, and I’ll get that off my plate. So that’s why I went, for the learning experience. I never knew ΓÇª this seemed impossible to me.”
Why She’s a Real-Life Dorothy. “I called Kenny one day and said can you just explain [Dorothy] to me and by then end, I was like, “Kenny, this is creepy, but she and I are the same person.” I went to Los Angeles for school and I thought that’s where I wanted to go. I thought I wanted to go all away across the country, and I found out that I didn’t belong there. Just like Dorothy; she thinks she wants to go to Omaha but she doesn’t, when she goes away from home, she realizes how much she misses it. And that was me. At the beginning, she’s struggling to find out who she is and where she belongs. Everyone has a little bit of that inside of them.”
How She’ll Handle Performance Night Jitters. “There’s always pressure whether you’re doing a high school show, and Kenny Leon always has this saying, ‘If you’re going to pray, don’t worry. And if you’re going to worry, don’t pray.’ I’m going to be doing a lot of praying. And I’m just going to do my best and leave it all on the stage.”
What’s She Learned From This Experience. “The most important thing I’ve learned is to stay humble. There is always going to be people telling you that you’re this and that, and remember it’s all about the work. Being with this cast, they teach me so much about living in the moment . . . I just watch and you learn so much from being around them.”
Who She’s Splurged On. “I haven’t had a splurge moment, but November is is my mom’s birthday month, we do the whole month. I love her so much. I was like ‘What do you want, Mama, anything you want.’ She’s the reason that I’m here. She likes this really nice fancy perfume, so I got it for her, but that’s just one of the presents.”
We love a fellow Gal who knows how to take care of MOM! The Wiz Live! airs tonight, Thursday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. on NBC.
photo credit: Paul Gilmore/NBC