“Wicked” was wicked good

I had the opportunity to see Wicked on Broadway last Saturday, and wicked it was… Wicked good! My sister won a pair of tickets through a raffle held in her office (third row seats!!!), so we went down to see the sold-out show. It was exciting just to sit there before the performance even started, listening to the clarinetists and oboists – among other musicians – warm up in the orchestra pit. The story is whimsical and slightly twisted, which is exactly what the music was. The show opened with Glinda descending from the ceiling, singing operetta. The manner in which the character of Glinda sang and spoke could have been potentially annoying (I think I heard someone compare her to Sharpay from High School Musical), but was thankfully not, which is a compliment to the actress and singer who played the part, Alli Mauzey. The main character of the play is of course Elphaba, who becomes known as the Wicked Witch of the West, and that part was played by Marcie Dodd. Perhaps my favorite song of the show was one she sang called “The Wizard and I.” It was dramatic, powerful, and jazzy, and did her voice justice quite beautifully. Probably the coolest and most interesting sequence in general was when Glinda and Elphaba go to the Emerald City for the first time. The set and costumes matched to colorfulness of the music, and the singing and dancing was very entertaining. The contrast between Glinda and Elphaba’s voices and personalities was complimentary, and both actresses sounded great singing duets together, in addition to their solos. There were other characters in the play as well of course, such as Madame Morrible played by Sarah Bolt, Fiyero played by Kevin Kern, and many, many more, but Glinda and Elphaba are the main characters, and therefore they sang the most. I do however have to mention The Wonderful Wizard of Oz himself, played by P.J. Benjamin. Mr. Benjamin sang some delightful songs, and had an undeniable charisma in the role. Although anyone who’s ever seen “The Wizard of Oz” will know that the wizard is supposed to be all-powerful, the most powerful part of the show for me came at the end of the first half, when Elphaba sang “Defying Gravity.” She sang about change, not being afraid, and standing up for what is right. Without giving too much about the plot away, I have to say that after seeing “Wicked”, I’ll never view “The Wizard of Oz” the same way again… It was great to see another side of the story (and there’s always another side to any story). “Wicked” was a wonderful production all around, and I highly recommend going to see it. The experience of sitting so close to the stage was amazing, but it would be enjoyable regardless of where you sit.

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