Oz has had a great impact on the world since it was written by L. Frank Baum a century ago in 1900. There are plays and musicals that are all based upon the idea of good and evil. “The Wizard of Oz” is a childhood classic starring the ever-so-talented Judy Garland. “The Wiz” is a an African American re-telling of the story with groovy, peppy, upbeat songs. “Wicked” is the tale of the time before the Elphaba became known as ‘The Wicked Witch”. This week I chose the closing song “Home” from “The Wiz”. Although it is the lesser known of the three shows I mentioned, it stands alone in greatness.
“The Wiz” hit the Broadway stage in 1975 and won Best Musical and Best Original Score. It was turned into a movie in 1978 starring two powerhouses Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Although the film did not live up to the hype, the musical is still going strong and being performed all around the world.
I first heard of “The Wiz” my senior year of high school when I was cast as “Addaperle the feel good girl”. Addaperle is the good witch and sings the song “He’s the Wiz”. The show was a lot of fun and I will forever hold memories of my castmates and friends in that production. After being in the show I saw it twice. La Jolla Playhouse produced the show in 2006 starring Nikki M. James as Dorothy. She then went on to play the lead actress in “Book of Mormon”. I saw her in both and enjoyed each of the shows as well as her performances very much. In 2009 I saw a limited engagement of “The Wiz” on Broadway starring Ashanti. Although she was not my favorite, I thought the show was great and boasted other famous Broadway stars.
Enough about the show, let’s talk about the song! The version I picked is Diana Ross singing from the movie. The close up was a great choice from the director. It gives a raw and real appearance. The beginning of the song paints a picture of home. It is lovely and if you close your eyes you can imagine how Dorothy must have felt. One of my favorite phrases is “And if you’re listening God, please, Don’t make it hard to know if we should believe the things that we see. Tell us, should we try to stay, should we run away, or would it be better just to let things be?” 2:33-3:14 is so powerful. Her face tells it all. The tear filled eyes, belting tone, and sheer oomph she possesses is so incredible. The head drop at 3:13 is as if she is saying “it is finished”. She put every ounce of passion into that song and it shows. The song has been re-done by many stars including Whitney Houston and Barbra Streisand but I believe Diana’s version portrays a beauty that is rare to find. Enjoy!
When I think of Home
I think of place
Where there’s love overflowing.
I wish I was home
I wish I was back there
With the thing i’ve been knowing.
Wind that makes the tall grass
Bend into leaning
Suddenly, the raindrops that fall
Have a meaning
Sprinklin the scene
Makes it all clean
Maybe there’s a chance
For me to go back
Now that I have some direction
It sure would be nice
To be back home
Where there’s love and affection
And just maybe I
Can convince time to slow up
Giving me enough time
In my life to grow up
Time, be my friend, let me start again.
Suddenly, my world’s gone
And changed It’s face
But I still know where I’m going
I have had my mind spun around in space And yet, I’ve watched it growing
And if you’re listening God, please, Don’t make it hard
To know if we should believe the things That we see
Tell us, should we try to stay,
should we run away, or would it be Better just to let things be?
Living here in this brand new world
Might be a fantasy,
But its taught me to love
So it’s real, real, real to me
And I’ve learned
That we must look inside our hearts
A world full of love
Like yours, Like mine