For the past three years, the first Thursday evening in December has been home to a holiday tradition as important as mistletoe, eggnog and bourbon, and watching Mariah Carey attempt whistle tones during “All I Want for Christmas is You” at the Rockefeller Tree Lighting Ceremony. As a culture, we have come to look forward to kicking off the holiday season with a nationally-televised-miscast-train-wreck-of-a-theatrical-event presented by NBC. However, it appears that the network that brought us hot-mess-season-one Ivy Lynn and then had the nerve to replace her with level-headed-season-two Ivy Lynn, has decided to repeat history by casting an actress in the starring role who can actually play it.
Yo, NBC. This is not how this goes. You have to stick with what works! Where do you get off making The Wiz Live good?! THAT IS NOT WHAT THIS TRADITION IS ABOUT. Providing us with a capable lead to carry the entire performance would be like if Macy’s canceled the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Pair this with the fact that Mariah effortlessly lip-synched on the parade last week instead of valiantly soldiering through the live tree lighting ceremony next week, it’s fair to assume that NBC is out to single handedly ruin my holidays. Like… they couldn’t even have given us a Wiz! You’re the One that I Want: The Search for the Next Elle Woods?!
Whatever. I may be seriously bummed that The Wiz Live is going to be good, but I’m writing this drinking game anyway, because it is a holiday tradition that I refuse to turn my back on, UNLIKE YOU, NBC.
SO, EVERYONE! Grab your favorite beverage, and pour one out for all the homoeroticism that will be missing this year; it’s time to ease on down the road that will undoubtedly lead to hugging porcelain Friday morning!
PRE-GAME: take a shot in honor of every actor friend you know who is live tweeting or Facebooking this event on a Thursday night at 8pm, because it probably means they’re unemployed.
NOTE: I trust you’ll be surrounded by friends either in person, on social media, or both, so some of these rules pertain to you and those around you, as well as what you’ll be viewing on screen.
- someone says, “Home.”
- you’re like, “where the fuck is Laura Benanti?”
- and then you’re like, “oh yeah, right.”
- sing Shanice.
- a set piece breaks or malfunctions.
- someone tweets about knowing Uzo.
- you know Uzo.
- Hamilton manages to make The Wiz Live about them.
- Neil Meron and Craig Zadan interrupt the telecast to announce that The Wiz Live will be transferring to Broadway.
- why. is. this. so. good.
- there are sound problems.
- someone is really confused by the influences from the original L. Frank Baum novel.
- you’re the one who’s confused.
- Neil Meron and Craig Zadan interrupt the telecast to announce that Bombshell will be transferring to Broadway.
- SING Shanice.
- the camera cuts to an actor who is not really paying attention.
- QUEEN LATIFAH.
- they still haven’t figured out how to fix the awkward silence that follows a musical number.
- Mary J. Blige takes an acting beat.
- Neil Meron and Craig Zadan interrupt the telecast to announce something they produced five years ago.
- one of your friends says, “I almost booked this.” (if you almost booked this, keep drinking until the next commercial break because do you know how much those Lost Men made last year?)
- NBC stamps an awkward hashtag at the bottom of the screen. #SingShanice
- someone in the cast is phoning it in like they are doing an open ended run.
- you change your major to Ne-Yo.
- Toto walks away with the show like Audra or Kelli O’Hara.
- Shanice Williams walks away with the show like Benanti.
Since The Wiz is arguably the most honest adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s original work, I’d like to point out that the first sequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written in 1904 and features a transgender character in the leading role, so I’m going to suggest that next year NBC bring us The Wiz 2 by Harvey Fierstein with score by Ne-Yo, Elijah Kelley, Harvey Mason, Jr., and Stephen Oremus, starring Laverne Cox. Or…I guess they could just do The Music Man. But it better be with Audra.
#GRATEFUL: Everything Happens for a Reason, the epic sequel to the 2013 best selling book, #SOBLESSED: the Annoying Actor Friend’s Guide to Werking in Show Business, was released November 30th and is available on Amazon Kindle and Paperback!