Last night, after a long day of teaching, working through student challenges, and trying to understand all the violence of the day before, I was getting ready to go to bed when I saw lots of people commenting about The Wiz on Facebook. I had resigned myself to watching it on replay at some point, but I decided to switch it on to see what all the hubbub was about. I'm glad I did.
I had seen the movie version of The Wiz years ago, but this live telecast came at exactly the right time for me. Producers had no way of knowing what would be happening in the world when they chose to present this play to a television audience, but they delivered a much needed shot of hope to this viewer and I imagine countless others. I watched from "No Bad News" to the end, and I'm anxious to go back and watch the entire performance from the beginning. Beautiful production values, especially with Paul Tazewell's gorgeous costumes. Great performances with lots of energy from a medium-sized ensemble that managed to feel large and powerful. And excellent featured performances from the leads. All in service of a story about the trials and tribulations we all have to face to discover who we really are and what really matters to us.
In the face of massive discord all around us, this live telecast of The Wiz achieved what I hope is one of the primary goals of art-making: to help us make meaning of the world when little else seems to make sense.