The Wiz

by Rex Reed
New York Daily News

With the world's problems, I suppose the question of whether Dustin Hoffman makes a successful transition from movie star to director of Broadway farce is not very high on the list of priorities. More contemptible even than All Over Town is The Wiz, a new all-black musical version of the legendary Wizard of Oz, devised and delivered by people with larceny in their hearts.

The opening night audience for this catastrophe was electric with indignation. "It's stupid." "It's loathsome." "It's nothing." "I left at intermission." "I thought I would vomit." "How dare they demolish the greatest American fairy tale?" These were some of the comments. At the risk of being excluded from polite society, I would like to offer the opinion that just because something is black does not-oriented entertainment is to tempt the fates. One has nightmare visions of being denounced as an Archie Bunker, then chased through the streets of Harlem by the Furies with their Afros on fire.

Well, I say bunk to all that. Garbage is garbage, no matter what color it is, and this all-black sacrilege is at the top of the rubbish pile.

Next to bombing the White House, I can't imagine a better way to start a race war than to denigate The Wizard of Oz and everything it stands for in the minds and hearts of children of all ages. Descendants of L. Frank Baum, creator of the Oz stories should sue. Judy Garland fans should picket the theater where this monstrosity is playing.

Copyright © 2008. Jeremy Aufderheide. All Rights Reserved. E-mail