Ease on Down...
The Wiz is a 1978 feature film released by Mowtown studios and Universal Pictures. The film is based off the Broadway show of the same name, which The Wiz is a more upbeat, modern take on the classic story, altering itself to appeal to African Americans. The film starred actress and singer Daina Ross as Dorothy. The film also had the talents of Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow, Nipsey Russell as the Tinman, Ted Ross as the Cowardily Lion, Lena Horne as Glinda and Richard Pryor as The Wiz. The film is considered a cult classic amoung the African-American community and is one of the most famous all African-American family films ever made.
The film starts out on a snowy cold day on Thanksgiving in the ghetto of New York. Dorothy, a twenty-four year-old kindergarten teacher who has never been south of 125th street, has no friends, boyfriend, children and is very shy and lonely. Probably the only friend she has is her dog Toto.
Dorothy wants to break out of her shell, and fit in but is too scared to go out into the world and face the unknown. After a crowded Thanksgiving dinner with relatives, Toto runs out the door while Dorothy is cleaning up. Dorothy chases after him into the cold streets of Harlem right in the middle of a snow storm. She eventually catches him but not in time, it's too late. There is a huge blizzard (The work of Glinda the Good Witch Of the South) that sweeps her and Toto away, far away into space and they crash land into Munchkin Land. Which is a giant playground tagged up with lots of Graffiti.
When Dorothy came down from the sky she fell into a huge "O" above the Munchkins playground. In the middle of the bright glowing sign was a large "Z", which made the sign say Oz. Dorothy happend to accidentally crash through the sign which makes the Z break off and fall, crushing Evamene who was apparently down below the sign. Evamene was the Wicked Witch of the East. And once she is killed the curse on Munchkin Land is broken. This automatically awakens the Munchkins, who were flattened onto the walls of the playground as punishment by the Wicked Witch of the East for spray painting on her playground wall.
The Munchkins rejoice and thank Dorothy for setting them free. Suddenly, the Miss One (a.k.a The Good Witch of the North) arrives. Dorothy doesn't understand whats going on and has no clue where she is. Miss One tells her she's in the land of Oz and gives Dorothy Evamene's Silver Shoes to Dorothy for luck.
With advice from the Munchkins and Miss One, they tell Dorothy to go visit The Wiz. (He's The Wiz!) He will help her find a way back home. Miss One says that the only way she will meet him is if she follows the Yellow Brick Road, to the Emerald City that's not too far away. Dorothy is egar to seek the Wiz, but the problem is she can't find the road as there is no road around in sight. After wandering aimlessly in Oz, she finally sees a Scarecrow who's stuffed with fortune cookie quotes in a dump. The Scarecrow gets tormented by a group of Crows (You Can't Win). Dorothy tells Toto to scare them off and saves the Scarecrow from the crow's bullying.
In return he chooses to accompany Dorothy on her journey to see the Wiz for a brain. And shortly after they both find the Yellow Brick Road, (Ease On Down the Road).
The road leads through an old Amusement Park that was abandoned long ago, Dorothy and the Scarecrow meet the Tin Man who is a rusted solid in a uncomfortable position. They help oil the mechanical man (Slide Some Oil to Me) who wants to gain a heart to love. They invite him on their journey so he can ask the Wiz for a heart. Later on down the road, the group of friends pass by a quiet library and are attacked by the Lion who was banished from the jungle and hid inside one of the stone lions infront of a building resembling the New York Public Library (I'm a mean ole lion) and wishes for some courage. Dorothy, the Scarecrow and Tinman invite him to see the Wiz also.
On the way they all run into obstacles. First they follow the road into an underground subway with evil giant puppets, trash cans with fangs, and other scary things come to life and try to kill them. Luckily, the Lion rescues everyone and they safely escape the subway and it's minions.
The group then encounters the Poppy Girls who are prostitutes who like to have fun and party. Stopping to have some innocent fun, Dorothy and The Lion are put to sleep, with magic poppy glitter. The Tinman's tears save them both and they are awakened by the deay trance
Finally, they all arrive at the Emerald City and see the Wiz . The city's residents are a group of aristocratic, stuck-up, shallow, narcissistic sophisticated phonies who are fashion foward and materialistic. The citizens are avant-garde while only caring about how they look and what is in or out of style.Thanks to Dorothy's Silver Slippers, the Wiz allows her and her friends an audience. The Wiz says he won't grant wishes unless they kill Evillene (the Wicked Witch of the West) who runs a sweatshop in the sewers of Oz and keeps The Winkies as her slaves and workers (No Bad News) . She figures out that Dorothy and her friends are coming to kill her and sends out her Flying Monkeys (a motorcycle gang of Gorillas) to kidnap them. After the friends are captured, Evilene dismembers the Scarecrow, flattens the Tinman, and hangs the Lion by his tail trying to make dorothy give up the slippers. When she threatens to burn Toto, Dorothy nearly gives the slippers up until the Scarecrow hints her to a fire sprinkler switch. Dorothy pulls the lever activating the sprinkler system which puts out the fire and melts Evilene (who is allergic to water). The Winkies help Dorothy's friends and celebrate the witch's death (A Brand New Day). They return to the Emerald City only to discover the Wiz is a fake, but soon realize that they dont need his magic to get their wishes because everything they need was in them all along. (Believe in Yourself). Just as it seems that Dorothy will never get home, Glinda appears and encourages her by telling her home is where the heart is (Believe in Yourself Reprise) and how to find her way home by clicking her heels three times. After saying goodbye to all her friends she takes Toto in her arms, thinks of home and the things she loves about it, and clicking her heels finds herself back in her neighborhood and home again on Harlem.
- Diana Ross as Dorothy
- Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow
- Nipsey Russell as the Tinman
- Ted Ross as the Cowardly Lion
- Theresa Merritt as Aunt Em
- Thelma Carpenter as Miss One
- Lena Horne as Glinda
- Mabel King as the Wicked Witch of the West
- Richard Pryor as The Wiz
- Overture Part one
- Overture Part two
- The feeling we once had
- Can I go on ?
- Glinda's theme
- He's the wizard
- Soon as I get home
- You can't win
- Ease on down the road
- What would I do if I could feel ?
- Slide some oil to me
- Ease on down the road (2)
- ( I'm a) Mean ole lion
- Ease on down the road (3)
- Poppy Girls
- Be a lion
- End of the yellow brick road
- Emerald City sequence
- So you wanted to meet the wizard
- Is this what feeling gets ?
- (Don't nobody bring me) No bad news
- A brand new day
- Believe in yourself
- The good witch glinda
- Believe in yourself (reprise)