‘The Wiz’ Star Shanice Williams on Her ‘Amazing’ Journey to Oz

Shanice Williams is starring in her very own fairy tale. In August, the 18-year-old New Jersey native was plucked from hundreds of hopefuls to play the lead role of Dorothy in “The Wiz Live.” She’ll be living in Oz through the night of Dec. 3, when the holiday musical production airs live on NBC.

What’s it been like for you to be thrust into the spotlight?

It’s been amazing. I was eating cereal on my couch when I saw the first commercial for “The Wiz” on TV. I dropped the spoon and the tears came out of nowhere.

Besides rehearsing, how have you been preparing for this performance? It’s quite an undertaking.

I’ve been trying to mentally connect with the character. Who is Dorothy, and why does she feel the way she does? I’m a Jersey girl, but I went to college in L.A. I can connect with the feeling of wanting to come home.

Will you be going back to school after “The Wiz Live”?

No. I was stuck in a hard place in Los Angeles, so I came home. I did (“The Wiz”) audition the day after I got off the plane.

What has surprised you most about starring in this production?

You have to be 110% focused all of the time. It’s hard when everybody is saying “Oh, you’re so amazing.” You have to remind yourself to stay humble.

What do you hope to do next?

I honestly don’t know. I need to take everything one step at a time. If I think about that too much, I’ll miss this amazing experience.

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