A wonderful show and score. Immensely creative (a human yellow brick road, the "storm dancers" ) exciting and entertaining.
The original cast (and many subsequent replacements) were wonderful. Stephanie Mills, Hinton Battle, Ted Ross, DeeDee Bridgerwater, Tiger Hayes, Mable King (later of That's My Mama) Andre DeShields, Clarice Taylor (later of The Cosby Show) and in the chorus - Phylicia Ayers Allen (later Phylicia Rashad) an embarrassment of talent riches.
The score is really gorgeous. Be A Lion, Easy On Down The Road, Everybody Rejoice (written by the young and then unknown Luther Vandross) and Home ..the 11 o'clock number that still gives me chills when I listen to the OBC. Great sets, amazing choreography, eye popping costumes. What's not to like!?!?!.
I think it suffered from being a "rock" musical and for violating the "sactity " of the Wizard of Oz. Some of the critics were unnecessary and unjustifiably brutal. Key among them was Rex Reed. His racist (blacks should protest with their afros on fire in front of the theater) and cruel review was an embarrassment. The Wiz turned out to be the winner by running and entertaining audiences for years.
The Encores production, starting Ahanti did not have the joy and charm of the original. Also, Andy Blankenbuler's jittery, twisted and tortuous choreography did not help that production.
Hawpy anniversary to a joyous musical! The out the below site for some fun info.