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Will the real Wiz
Please stand up?
By DONNA WHITAKER
It’s funny how two productions bearing
the same name are not the same at all.
Take for instance, the musical play and
the movie “The Wiz.” There were
noticeable differences between the two,
such as the setting and the charac
In the play we see young, sweet, in
nocent Dorothy from Kansas making her
way down the yeUow-brick road. However,
the movie throws us into a New York
apartment with an overly-timid 24-year-
old Harlem grade school teacher who acts
like a deaf-mute.
My, what a difference to comprehend.
But wait, that’s not all! Although both
productions are entitled “The Wiz,” only
thje play hves up to its name. The movie
should have been named “Dorothy,”
because it is she (Diana Ross) who plays
the wizard’s role. She tells all of her
companions; the Tinman (Nipsy Russell),
the Scarecrow (Michael Jackson) and the
Lion (Ted Ross); alj they need to know to
gain their desired possessions and to be the
persons they want.
The Wiz, Richard Pryor, is portrayed as
a preposterous weakling and should not
even be in the movie. The movie defeats
the main purpose of “The Wiz,” which is
namely to show that if a mere man can
evolve into a wizard, just be believing in
himself, then anyone else can achieve
success by following suit.
Hie movie is primarily a capitalization
of Diana Ross. A preview article in the
November 1978 issue of Ebony was entitled
“Diana Ross in ‘The Wiz’.”
According to Ebony, upon discovering
that the role of Dorothy was open, Ms.
Ross simply took it upon herself to wake up
Motown Giairman Berry Gordy “with a
phone call in the middle of the night” and
to tell him that “she wanted to play
‘Dorothy’” even though nobody had said
anything to her about the part or had
expressed interest in her for the part.
Ah, but there is some good in even a
mediocre production. Although the movie
“The Wiz” is not as brilliant, dynamic and
meaningful as the play, it has a certain
value. The movie has a superb score,
masterfully organized by Quincy Jones. It
icludes hits such as “Ease On Down The
Road,” “Slide Some OU To Me,” “No Bad
News,” “He’s The Wizard,” “If You
Believe” and “Home.” The idea of
adapting a classic to fit modem society
deserves commendation, but in adapting,
most of the classic atmosphere is lost.
The play is closely related to the original
classic which makes it more indepth.
The movie is more of a superficial
production that tries to have depth, but
fails. Maybe the character of Dorothy
should have been submissive to the
character of The Wiz, whose character
should have been dominant, or the movie
should have been given a different name.
The characters of the lion, scarecrow and
tinman were portrayed effectively, as
were the characters of the witches (which
included Lena Home and Mabel King).
In the play, the characters were more
jovial and into their lines. And of course,
the Wiz is an important figure. Both
productions produce deep solemnity and
joy, but the play is more moving than the
If you can observe a light-hearted,
superficial production and enjoy it, by all
means, go see the movie.
Sunday Feb. 11
3 and 8 p.m.
Tickets: $6 and $7
$7 and $8 evening
CARDS arid GIFTS
(Imports from Africa, India, C8irribbean,
2ind South America)
Specializing in Black greeting cards, Afro Jewelry, and Art
Mon.-Sat. 10a.m.-7 p.m.
400 W. Rosemary St.
Sunday 1-6 p.m.
Chapel Hill (Across from Dips Country Kitchen)
If you don't have time to do your own needlework
Call BJ. at:
8 a.m. — 4 p.m.
D-8 Elliott Woods Apts.
• Sewing (quilts,pillows, clothes etc.)
• Alterations and design
• Crochet (afghans, shawls, hats, scarfs, etc.)
• Macrame (hanging plant holders)
There*8 no limit at RJ,F. Creations
The Internationally Famous
A Dance & Show
Friday, February 9
A Carolina Union