NJ native is the star of NBC’s ‘The Wiz Live!’ (WATCH)
From a yellow school bus to the yellow brick road, a young graduate of Rahway High School will perform live for millions of viewers Thursday night as one of the most popular characters in movie history.
Shanice Williams, 19, landed the role of Dorothy in NBC's production of "The Wiz Live!" She was chosen this summer from hundreds of Dorothy-hopefuls, as seen in the video above.
Williams wasted no time making it big, having graduated from Rahway High School just a year-and-a-half ago.
And her success comes as no surprise to those who watched her develop her on-stage powerhouse presence.
"She was definitely blessed with a God-given talent," said Alison Dooley, Williams' high school musical director and theater teacher. "She was a sponge; she soaked it all in. She took criticism with great grace and worked really hard."
Williams took center stage for eight musicals during her time at Rahway High, from "Seussical" to "West Side Story." Over time, she sought advice beyond professionals at the school, studying voice privately and attending the Paper Mill Playhouse Conservatory.
Williams and the rest of the cast, including stars such as David Alan Grier, Mary J. Blige and Queen Latifah, have been rehearsing around the clock for several weeks in preparation for Thursday's 8 p.m. live production.
The school is hosting a free live simulcast of the event.
"It's an opportunity for us to celebrate as a school community and a town community," Dooley said. "We're more than just a prison town."