Looks like the folks over at NBC are trying to do right by The Wiz. After tapping Stephanie Mills, Queen Latifah, and Mary J. Blige to star in the live production, the network has finally found its lead.

Shanice Williams, just 18, beat out hundreds of eager young women to land the coveted role of Dorothy. Despite studying musical theater for years, the New Jersey native never thought she’d actually get the part.


“When I went to the audition, it was more of a learning experience for me so I never imagined this would happen in a million years,” Williams said on the Today Show. “I was just going to learn what an audition process is in New York City.”

Williams did more than just learn, she wowed The Wiz’s casting directors to score the role of a lifetime, and she hopes others do the same.

“Go out and chase your dreams no matter how crazy it looks. Just do what makes you happy and try. Just go out and audition.”

Tuesday, NBC announced comedic vet David Alan Grier will join the cast as the Cowardly Lion, giving fans of the classic musical even more reason to tune in on December 3.

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  • She is a very humble Sister. Her voice is incredible. Shanice Williams is right to mention that chasing your dreams is a pristine, galvanizing motto to live by. The Wiz is a staple of black culture and its cultural impact is felt today. I wish more success for Shanice Williams (as her great spirit and her inspirational passion can inspire others to follow their paths too) and the Wiz on NBC has an excellent cast.

  • Mary Burrell

    Good for her. May she have success.

  • agdoren

    except Dorthy was like 7 it should be a little girl like, Quvenzhané Wallis.

    • binks

      Maybe in the Wizard of Oz, but in the Wiz Dorothy is a young adult, early 20s, with a job so Shanice Williams fits the part Quvenzhane Wallis would be to young.

    • Sparger

      In the Wiz the movie, Dorothy is a young adult. That’s because Diana Ross wanted the role. In the play she was a child originally played by the teenage Stephanie Mills.

    • binks

      Interesting, I didn’t know that I am more familiar with the movie version than the play since it was before my time. But I like the teenage/grown up Dorothy I can’t really picture a child Dorothy.

  • Me

    i’m glad new talent is being given a chance. i think david allen grier will pay a great cowardly lion.