Friday, July 24, 2009

Shakespeare and Michael Jackson

The Wiz. Dir. Sidney Lumet. Perf. Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Mabel King, Lena Horne, and Richard Pryor. 1978. DVD. Universal Studios, 2008.
Posting to Bardfilm has become something of a treat reserved for the brief time between finishing one of the summer's projects and starting another. I've reached such a point, so I can pass along the connection between Michael Jackson and Shakespeare.

No, it doesn't have anything to do with the millions of fans who quoted Romeo, saying "O, that I were a glove upon that hand" (Romeo and Juliet, II.ii.24). Nor is it about Michael Jackson being the Shakespeare of his age (though both were gifted performers and both died in their early fifties).

Instead, it's Michael Jackson (as the Scarecrow in The Wiz) quoting from Henry IV, Part II:

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. (2 Henry IV, III.i.31)
There you have it! Now on to the next project!
Links: The Film at IMDB.

Click below to purchase the film from
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).


Ethan said...

Is this a good and interesting film? I am sorry because I have not ever watched this film. So, what is the relationship between Shakespeare and Michael Jackson here?

kj said...

The Wiz is a fantastic musical, and the music is tremendously thoughtful and through-provoking. This production is exceptional. The connection between Shakespeare and Michael Jackson is simply that Jackson quotes Shakespeare in this clip.

Thanks for the comment, Ethan!


Charles said...

I really idolized Michael Jackson. In my opinion, Michael Jackson is a great artist, and Michael Jackson is the King of Pop in the world. And I love all her songs. And by the way, I've seen the videos that you post and I am confused what to say. Therefore, I want to ask you. Actually, I've never seen this movie. Is this movie really good? What is privilege of Shakespeare than Michael Jackson? What is the relationship between Shakespeare and Michael Jackson? I hope you giving information about this.

kj said...

The Wiz is a fantastic musical, and the music is tremendously thoughtful and through-provoking. This production is exceptional. You should see it! Michael Jackson sings some magnificent numbers. Give it a try!


Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2012 by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest