The classic story of Oz is turned upside down in this wickedly satirical musical. A production that started out on the mean streets of New York, this cutting edge take on classic literature is now touring the country. Wicked is a sardonic mix of good music and great acting, providing and experience that will be remembered for years to come.
Wickedly Awesome Story
Based on the book by Winnie Holzman, Wicked centers on the life of Elphaba. This often-maligned Wicked Witch of the West isn’t what is always assumed, instead living a life full of sorrow and heartache. Her story is told in flashbacks, spanning from her birth from an adulterous affair to her death at the hands of Dorothy. Interwoven are the tales that are not seen in the movie or the book such as how Glenda met Elphaba, how Elphaba’s sister became the Wicked Witch of the East, and how the Wizard of Oz didn’t just trick those coming to see him in the Emerald City.
Stephen Schwartz’s musical numbers help tie together this story, bringing the new and old characters to life in a magical way. The music underlines the interplay between Elphaba and her antagonist and friend Glenda the Good. The story is great and the music is good but the interplay between these two characters is what really gives the show legs. Both women long for acceptance in life, although each character finds their way in the world. This is the real strength of Wicked, underlining deficiencies with the current society without preaching and set to catchy tunes.
Two Fantastical Women
The strength of the cast cannot be understated. Patti Murin as Glenda and Dee Roscioli as Elphaba help anchor an already well-crafted musical experience. Murin’s Glenda shines as she seeks popularity and adulation while sparring with Roscioli’s Elphaba, who only wants to be accepted. Each actor handles both the intimate and the caustic in a masterful fashion.
Both women still the show, but Murin brings a depth to Glenda that might not be there in the hands of another. Glenda could come off as just another ditzy blonde craving attention, but Murin instills a complexity in the character that is often lacking. She has comedic timing that the song “Popular” shows off, while adding more to the stereotypical idea of a mean girl.
Roscioli responds with her representation of the often-rejected Elphaba. Even the limitations of the green paint do nothing to dull her performance. Although the green paint that Roscioli was forced to wear became a nuisance by the end of the evening, her voice and stage presence were impeccable.
An Enduring Classic
This production is playing at the Paramount for a limited engagement or until people stop buying tickets for Wicked the musical. This play should be seen and experienced. With the popularity of the play, Wicked will be around for at least the next couple of centuries.
Image Credit: Stuck in Customs
- License: Creative Commons image source
Derek is an active musical blogger. When he is not blogging, he enjoys traveling to multiple cities and countries. The article above is for tickets for wicked the musical.