Shanice Williams of New Jersey tried out for the role of Dorothy on a lark — just to see what the audition process was like. Now she has four months to prepare for NBC’s live telecast of “The Wiz.”

Shanice Williams will be Dorothy in NBC’s live telecast of “The Wiz.”
Williams, 18, beat out hundreds of other “unknowns” for the coveted role, NBC announced Wednesday. She’ll join an all-star cast that includes Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah and David Alan Grier.

“It’s really hitting me right now!” she told Carson Daly on the “Today” show Wednesday. “When I went to the audition, it was more of a learning experience for me so I never imagined this would happen in a million years. I was just going to learn what an audition process is in New York City.”

She’ll have the same role as that played by Stephanie Mills in the 1975 Broadway show and Diana Ross in the 1978 movie. The Broadway takeoff of “The Wizard of Oz” will be telecast
Dec. 3.

Williams was nominated last year for Best Leading Actress in a Musical at the New Jersey Paper Mill Playhouse’s Rising Star Awards.

“Definitely had a lot of training since a young age,” she said on “Today.” “My teachers in high school have always helped me, gave me encouragement, taught me so much. So I feel like all of that combined together gave me a great start up for this.”

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