Wicked, the Broadway phenomenon has landed in Minneapolis (again), and it is here for four weeks. It is a top notch production and I sincerely hope that the long run will allow many people to see the show.
Before going further I think it is vital to explain my relationship to the show. I was a super fan in Middle School (I am now 25), it was my favorite musical (that superlative is now harder to define). I was lucky enough to see the show on Broadway during this time and the memory of those performances are of perfection and the pure joy and awe that I felt in seeing the show. Because of this I was both thrilled and a bit anxious to see the show again. After all why not leave pristine memories of a show untouched.
But thankfully I did see the show again and it did not disappoint at all. It was a joy to go back and revisit this show that I loved so much, and still do. There is a sentiment that has been communicated by both Kathleen Kelly (fictional book store owner of You’ve Got Mail) and JK Rowling that the books that we read as children stay with us. Well I am here to say that this is true of musicals too! There is as song at the end of Wicked, “For Good”, that is possibly now known for being overused and Middle School and High School graduations everywhere, which talks of the power that people and friends have to influence each other (for good). But seeing the show Thursday night I felt as though the show was speaking to me, as to the way that it has touched my life. Musicals have a way of effecting you.
I go into this sappy explanation to express just how good and powerful this show is. A bad, or mediocre show does not hold onto people for years and a bad touring production just leaves you with disappointment (I know, I’ve seen them). But a great show, and a great touring production can have a powerful effect on a person, be it an adult or a child.
Wicked, for those you are not aware, is the back story of the Wizard of Oz. It follows Elphaba (The Wicked Witch of the West) and G(a)linda’s friendship and how they went from college roommates to the most feared and loved witches of Oz. Wizard of Oz is such a beloved story and Wicked, based on Gregory Maguire’s novel, gives us a fascinating backstory to it, filled with flying monkeys, awkward school dances and magic.
Jessica Vosk and Ginna Claire Mason make a wonderful Elphaba and Glinda. Mason can hit those high notes and Vosk has a powerful belt. The chemistry between them can be felt, and they both play their character’s defining characteristics (Elphaba’s sarcastic tone and Glinda’s bubbly attitude) well while also holding onto the character’s central humanity. The balance between these two things allow us to not only laugh but root for both of these characters. I was also particularly enchanted by Andy Mientus as Boq, with his eager smile and attitude you couldn’t help but love him.
The show runs on energy and the entire cast gives it all and the audience gives it all back. Wicked is a spectacle and the national tour pulls out all the stops.
Wicked is quickly becoming a classic on Broadway, and it deserves that title. It is a great show and no matter who you are young or old, new to the show or longtime fan I highly recommend you make your way to downtown Minneapolis and see this show. There are even lottery tickets if you want to try your hand and getting great and cheap ($25) tickets.
The phenomenon that is Wicked will be at the Orpheum Theater until May 14th.
*Photos by Joan Marcus