The Wiz

Last night, NBC presented The Wiz Live! It billed it as “The Live Event of the Year!” 

Was it a success?

“A wiz of a ‘Wiz’ it was.”
-USA Today

“NBC’s trip to Oz is a colorful triumph.”
-The Hollywood Reporter

“A Hot Mess Saved By Brains, Heart, and Courage.”
-The Daily Beast

Over all, critics — and fans alike — loved it!

I can say with confidence that I don’t know anyone who loves The Wiz more than I do. That’s not to say that I have yellow bricks leading up to our front door (although, if my wife let me, I probably would). No film has had a bigger impact on me than the late Sidney Lumet’s 1978 film.

When people have asked me what my favorite film is, I’ve often said Good Will Hunting (number two on my list). It’s not that I didn’t have the courage to tell people the truth, it’s just that every time I said The Wiz, people looked at me like I needed a brain.

The music, costumes, and stellar performances by the larger-than-life ensemble cast, as well as the lesser-known actors in the film, are extraordinary.

On a sad note …

While there is no silver lining when it comes to the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, perhaps there is a straw of solace in knowing that Ground Zero was the film site for the Emerald City – where thousands took their last steps and breaths.

Yes, it’s a sad and painful irony, but at least we are certain that the people who caused 9/11 were bankrupt of brains, courage, and hearts.

On a brighter note, the film’s music supervisor, Quincy Jones, and Scarecrow, Michael Jackson, would eventually team to produce both Off The Wall and the greatest selling album of all time: Thriller.


A framed theatrical poster of The Wiz, given to me by a close friend, hangs in my daughter’s room. It often reminds me of the people and friends I’ve met. And I also think about my life’s journey, my family, and especially my home.

And to steal the opening lines from the last song in the film: When I think of home, I think of a place where there’s love overflowing.

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