NBC's The Wiz Live! Wins Two NAACP Image Awards
Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron celebrate the production's honors with TheaterMania.
NBC's 2015 live broadcast of The Wiz scored big at the 2016 NAACP Image Awards, taking home the trophy for Outstanding Television Movie, Limited Series or Dramatic Special, as well as statue in the Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie category for cast member David Alan Grier.
"It's incredibly gratifying and emotional," producer Neil Meron said in an interview with TheaterMania. "We all felt a big sense of responsibility taking on something so iconic and beloved, and to have had it turn out the way we all wanted it to is just great. We really met the goal of what we set out to do."
The production, which aired December 3, was led by newcomer Shanice Williams as Dorothy, alongside a starry supporting cast including Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Ne-Yo, Common, and Grier. Each had a personal connection to the work. "When we started talking to actors," says Meron's producing partner Craig Zadan, "we didn't realize the impact it had on the black community. Common just kind of freaked out [when they told him their selection]. At that moment, we realized how deep the movie went in terms of the community, and how we better get it right."
With their NAACP Awards in hand, they realize that they did. "It was an incredible team that worked very, very hard," Meron concludes. "In this time of racial diversity and shootings and just really relooking at how the different races function in society, to have a moment where everybody stopped and celebrated a positive message and great talent was this beacon for all of us. We're reveling in that achievement."
Watch Williams and costar Elijah Kelly react to the show's win below.