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Ashanti knows a thing or two about Dorothy Gale: She portrayed the character in 2005 in the TV movie "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz." Still, she was initially nervous about how the seasoned cast of "The Wiz" would accept her as a non-stage actress and newcomer. (Ashanti has two multiplatinum albums under her belt, and has appeared in the movies "Coach Carter" and "John Tucker Must Die").
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Ashanti's cast mates include Orlando Jones as The Wiz and LaChanze as Glinda the Good Witch. LaChanze, a Tony winner for "The Color Purple," encouraged Ashanti to experiment with the role and try new things.
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The acting process comes easily — as a repeat Dorothy, she's been down that Yellow Brick Road before — and she draws upon her personal journey from young pop sensation to blossoming adult.
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But in "The Wiz," it's not wicked witch Evillene that gives her trouble. It's memorizing the music.
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When the show closes, Ashanti will head to the studio.
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