"There is a dream," Norwood confessed in an upcoming interview with Playbill magazine. "There is a dream to be Dorothy in The Wiz, and let me tell you — I will give that everything I have."
The Wiz, a contemporary (and soulful) take on L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" — retold in the context of African-American culture — will hit television screens across the country in a live broadcast at year's end under the direction of Tony winner Kenny Leon.
It will then be presented as a major Broadway revival for the 2016-17 season, and Norwood is more than ready to sink her heels into the show's silver shoes.
"That role — I just feel like it's meant for me to do it, and I don't say that in an arrogant way, I say it in a humble way," she explained. "I just want to feel what it's like to be Dorothy. I need to feel that. I need to feel what that's like. I worked with Diana Ross [who played Dorothy in the 1978 film version of "The Wiz"] when I was 15. She played my mother in a movie ["Double Platinum"], and Whitney Houston was my fairy godmother [in "Cinderella"], and she sang "Home" as one of her first songs to be recognized, and I've been close to these women — Diana Ross and Whitney Houston.
"Diana Ross was Dorothy, and Whitney Houston sang a song Dorothy sang in The Wiz, and I just feel like I'm next in line for that, and that's what I want to do. And, I think Roxie has given me so much belief that I could do it, and I could really make people feel inspired, and I can really bring something to Dorothy because of the way I feel — my spirit and how genuine I feel inside. I can bring life to that character, and I feel like I'm the one to do it. And, I just want Kenny Leon and whoever else who is doing it to let me prove it to them. Give me the opportunity, and I will make them so proud and inspire the world with that role. I definitely will do that." Norwood, who made her buzzed-about Broadway debut in April, said that hitting the stage "reawakened my life in a different kind of way." She added, "I realized that I was born for theatre, and this is where I need to be and this is what makes me feel good and happy."
Look for more on Norwood's journey to Broadway in an upcoming Playbill feature.
The Wiz will debut Dec. 3 on NBC prior to its Broadway bow. The musical's original Dorothy, Stephanie Mills, will play Aunt Em in the TV production.
Tony Award-winning director Leon will stage both the television production and Broadway revival in collaboration with Tony winner Harvey Fierstein, who will contribute new material to the original Broadway book by William F. Brown.
But, before The Wiz hits television and the stage, Norwood continues to knock 'em dead as merry murderess Roxie through Aug. 2 in Chicago.