The Wiz Live! has found its leading lady!
Shanice Williams will play Dorothy in NBC’s musical TV event airing in December.
“This has been my dream forever, but I never thought it would be a reality,” the New Jersey native tells PEOPLE after beating out hundreds of hopefuls for the big part.
“I still can’t believe it. Of course I’ve been a big fan. I had the movie and my dad had the soundtrack and we would listen to it in the car,” she says, adding, “I also saw the original with Stephanie Mills.”
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While Williams is still in shock over nabbing her very first role on television, the newcomer is definitely in good company. The special also stars David Alan Grier as the Cowardly Lion along with Queen Latifah as the Wiz and Mary J. Blige as the Wicked Witch of the West.
“I’ve just been thanking God,” she says. “I couldn’t celebrate because I couldn’t tell anyone until now. Just me and my mom have been celebrating.”
And even though she’s just 19, Williams says she’s always dreamed of performing.
“When I got to high school I was going to do sports, but I got kicked off the volleyball team because I kept missing it for musical theater,” she says. “I just fell in love with it from the very beginning. I knew it was going to be a career, not a hobby.”
The Wiz Live! airs Dec. 3 on NBC.