The full company of The Wiz performs on stage.

‘The Wiz’ Revival Faces Backlash For Apparent AI-Generated Images Throughout Show

The Wiz is very good; generative AI in the arts is very bad. Unfortunately, some dumbo thought it was a good idea to combine the two, leading to AI-generated images being used throughout the hotly anticipated revival of the groundbreaking, beloved musical, currently in its pre-Broadway national tour.

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How did this happen? TikTok user @carinabombina drew attention to the show’s apparent use of AI and the problems that arise from that in a video discussing the ethics of AI in theatre. This production appears to have used AI-generated images for many backdrops during the show, most of which were painfully obvious in their computer generation.

The video goes on to point out strange imperfections, distortions, and random changes in art style within the backdrops. In one backdrop featuring the Kansas countryside, the clouds above are drawn in clashing art styles not typical of human design. In another, a tree trunk seen through a cutout bizarrely leads to no treetop above. Everything also has a smooth, machine-like texture to it very much reminiscent of the images you’d see from DALL-E or Midjourney.

Reinforcing these clear signs, a company by the name of FND Scene Changes Ltd is credited for the scenic design and fabrication. The company’s website features design imagery that quite distinctly appears to be AI-generated.

@Carinabombina explains that AI is a bad look for Broadway not just because of the quality of the art on display (which is not good!), but because this art form tends to be sorely underfunded to begin with. The money saved by having a computer designing backdrops very likely doesn’t go back to the art itself, nor to the production staff or other artists. AI labor’s entire function is to cut corners for corporate profiteering.

AI has no place on Broadway or in any other art form. While AI may sometimes produce competent work, this comes at the cost of replacing human artists who would do a much better job. Like come on, we’ve been doing this whole art thing for thousands of years, we don’t need a robot to do it for us.

Is there the potential for so-called ethical use of AI in art? I don’t know, maybe. But this certainly isn’t it and the stakes are too high to play around with that conversation, while industry-wide standards are being lowered and real artists are losing opportunities. Professional theatrical productions shouldn’t be using AI and it sets a terrible precedent we will undoubtedly see imitated in the future.

(featured image: Jeremy Daniel)

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Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson (he/they) writes about media criticism, race studies, intersectional feminism, and left-wing politics. He has been working with digital media and writing about pop culture since 2014. He enjoys video games, movies, and TV, and often gets into playful arguments with friends over Shonen anime and RPGs. He has experience writing for The Mary Sue,, Bunny Ears, Static Media, and The Crimson White. His Twitter can be found here: