Track of the Day: 'Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News'

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

In response to Sophie’s review of The Wiz Live!, “NBC’s best musical yet,” a reader writes:

I loved it, far better than I was expecting. The thing I disliked was being overwhelmed by commercials; it seemed that there were 5-6 minutes of them after every musical number. The ads really were intrusive, breaking up the play too much. [CB note: At least the actors themselves weren’t ads.]

I loved seeing Stephanie Mills in the production, like passing the torch to a new generation. Mary J. Bling as the Wicked Witch of the West was great, the show-stopper being her performance of “Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News.” The actors playing Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion were excellent casting decisions.

For me the weakest member, and the one I was most looking forward to, was Queen Latifah. I guess I was expecting a lot more, and in my opinion, her performance was one of the flattest—not a lot of emotional difference between her first scenes and the final scenes.

Overall though, a fine performance and I’m glad to hear it’s Broadway bound. With good casting and some tweaks, it’ll be a show to see when in NYC.

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