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Back by popular demand - the Broadway presentation at The Schuster Center - April 29-May 17, 2015.
By Mike Woody
The origins of many beloved characters from the ‘Wizard of Oz’ are revealed, which I won’t spoil, but it’s no secret that ‘WICKED’ is a spectacular show. There’s a reason that Dayton wanted it back for a third time, which is more than some families want relatives to come visit. ‘WICKED’ doesn’t require any house cleaning and causes genuine smiles rather than forced ones. On a personal note though, ‘Wicked’ is just like time spent with my relatives, an absolute joy from beginning to end, even with a witch!
From the moment the curtain rises until it drops, ‘WICKED’ is a non-stop display of vibrant colors, majestic voices, and endearing characters that can only be found in Oz. It’s a visual as well as an emotional masterpiece that makes you laugh, cry, and form a deeper appreciation for those we hold dear. Humor, sentiment, and logic…oh my!
The plot centers on the revolving friendship; between Elphaba (Alyssa Fox) and Glinda (Carrie St. Louis); better known as the Wicked and the Good Witch, respectively. Despite their differences, such as Elphaba being green (it’s not easy), and Glinda, obsessed with only her own beauty, they are able to form an alliance.
Despite being the Wicked Witch, Elphaba is extremely likeable from her first appearance on stage, played perfectly by Fox. In her search for acceptance, spurned by everyone while starting at a new school, I was green with envy of Elphaba’s positive attitude. What could possibly turn such a good natured spirit into a Wicked Witch? Well, besides the pointy black hat that she receives from Glinda.
Meanwhile, when not making sure her hair is in perfect place, Glinda is always trying to shine in the eyes of others. St. Louis totally embodies the role, making even Glinda’s self-absorbed habits a pleasure to watch. She has many good one-liners, and a golden, or rather an emerald voice that shines beautifully. A moment where St. Louis is especially bright is during ‘Popular’ as her cheerful, silly attitude is delightfully contagious. It’s appropriate that St. Louis plays the Good Witch, as there is nothing negative about her performance.
It’s at the end of the first act when ‘WICKED’ soars to its highest point with ‘Defying Gravity,’ when Elphaba begins to embrace her wickedness. The power contained within Fox’s voice is stronger than a Kansas tornado and blows the audience into a frenzy.
‘WICKED’ features a stellar supporting cast, including John Davidson, who controls the stage as the conniving Wizard. He’s spellbinding with his magical voice and mannerisms. It was my sister-in-laws fifth time seeing ‘WICKED,’ including on Broadway, and she reports that Davidson is the best Wizard she has seen…That’s Incredible. There’s also Ashley Parker Angel (Fiyero), who loses his brain from being in a love triangle. The role of Boq is played with a lot of heart by Lee Slobotkin, though he ends up a little stiff. Kristine Zbornik is devilishly evil as Madame Morrible and Michael DeVries is far from baaaaaad as Dr. Dillamond. Plus, Liana Hunt really finds her feet as Nessarose, equipped with some stylish striped socks. The entire ensemble is superb as everyone contributes to making Oz such a magical place.
‘WICKED’ continues at the Schuster Center through May 17.
Also read Mike Woody's interview with the Good Witch - WICKED: Behind the Scenes in the Emerald City.
Back by “popular” demand. Variety calls WICKED “a cultural phenomenon,” and it continues to break box office records across North America. Winner of more than 50 major awards, including a Grammy®and three Tony Awards®, WICKED is “Broadway’s biggest blockbuster” (The New York Times). Long before that girl from Kansas arrives in Munchkinland, two girls meet in the land of Oz. One–born with emerald green skin–is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. How these two grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good makes for “the most complete, and completely satisfying, musical in a long time” (USA Today).
Mike Woody is a life long resident of Dayton, and has a passion for writing, which is good because he doesn't excel at much of anything else, except eating.
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