As NBC prepares for its live presentation of “The Wiz,” Stephanie Mills is passing the torch (or should we say her silver high heels) to the talented newcomer who will “ease on down the road” as Dorothy.
Mills, a longtime Mount Vernon resident, was the first performer to play Dorothy when the Tony-winning musical, adapted from “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” opened on Broadway in 1975. But on December 3, the lead role will belong to New Jersey’s Shanice Williams, who beat out hundreds of aspiring actresses at an open casting call in May.
Mills, who will play the role of Auntie Em in the TV special, proved that she is still Dorothy at heart during a recent rehearsal for the show. The powerhouse singer, 58, helped Williams, 18, belt out “Home,” one of the classic songs from the beloved musical. (Watch their performance below.)
“The Wiz Live” will also star Queen Latifah, Ne-Yo, Common, David Alan Grier and Uzo Aduba. Yonkers-raised singer Mary J. Blige will play Evelline, the Wicked Witch of the West.